Exciting times for change! Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley, Kathryn Bertine and I have initiated a petition to the Amaury Sport Assosiation (ASO) – the organisers of the Tour – to request that women race in the Tour de France next year.
The Tour de France has been the pinnacle endurance sports event of the world, watched by and inspiring millions of people. And for 100 years, it has been an exclusively male race (there was a separate Tour Feminin in the 1980s, but it lacked parity, media coverage, and sponsorship).
The women’s road race at the London Olympics was a showcase for how impressive, exciting, and entertaining women’s cycling can be. The Tour of Flanders and Flèche Wallonne hold similar top ranked men’s and women’s races on the same day, with great success. But road cycling remains one of the worst offenders in gender inequality: fewer race opportunities, no televised coverage, shorter distances, and therefore salary and prize money inequity.
Having a separate women’s pro field at the Tour de France will also create an equal opportunity to debunk the myths of physical “limitations” placed upon female athletes. We thought women couldnt run marathons until the late 1960s! Hindsight has taught us how foolish that was.
Hopefully 30 years from now, we will see 2014 as the year that opened people’s eyes to true equality in the sport of cycling, and also generate equality all the way down to the grassroots level.
The petition is at the attached link.
I really hope you will all get behind this – signing, promoting and backing the move for change!
Thanks so much