Route Announcement for Revitalized Women’s Tour de France “Important Day for Cycling”, Says Lizzie Deignan

Christian Prudhomme and Marion Rousse - GETTY IMAGES

Christian Prudhomme and Marion Rousse – GETTY IMAGES

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan hailed it as an “important day for cycling” after the route of the first women’s Tour de France in 33 years was unveiled in Paris.

The women’s circuit will be relaunched next year with an eight-stage race that winds through northern France, starting on the Champs-Elysees on July 24, more than three decades after the event was last held in 1989.

The route will combine a mix of gravel sections, unpaved roads and two mountain stages, with the last day ending on the Super Planche des Belles Filles in northeastern France – a notoriously difficult climb that featured for the first time in the men’s circuit in 2019.

A sign that the organizers want to push the boundaries of women’s cycling, the riders will face a single stage of 175 km on the fifth day, which exceeds the maximum stage distance of 160 km that women are allowed to cover at WorldTour level, except special dispensation.

“This is a key indicator that the sport continues to progress as we are now able to participate in the most famous cycling race in the world,” said rider Trek-Segafredo Deignan, who won the first women’s Paris-Roubaix. earlier this month. . “Each step is dynamic, different and interesting. There are so many challenges to overcome in just eight days of racing!

“The inclusion of a stage with gravel sections means that it will probably be a complete rider who wins the Tour de France Women – but I expect the first yellow jersey to go to a sprinter, but that Also changes hands a few times along the way which will be exciting for the fans. “

The women’s version will start on the same day as the 109th edition of the men’s tour ends and is scheduled two weeks after the longest women’s race on the calendar, the Giro Donne (July 1-10).

More than 300 cities apply and pay to host a stage of the men’s circuit each year, but race director Christian Prudhomme admitted he was forced to approach the candidates for the women’s edition himself. “The biggest challenge is to broadcast the race. I think we did a good job, the race starting the same day as the men’s race ends in Paris, ”said Prudhomme.

Zwift, the global online fitness platform, has already signed up as the title sponsor of the event, which will be broadcast in 170 countries, unlike the 190 countries where the men’s tour is televised. “The goal is to organize a race that will remain, that will still exist in 100 years, that I can watch when I get old and with a walker,” added Prudhomme, 60.

Meanwhile, the men’s tour will kick off with a 13 kilometer time trial in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the first week stopping over the cobblestones of northern France, followed by a brief trip to Belgium, Luxembourg and in Swiss. finished in Peyragudes and Hautacam before a 40 km time trial on the penultimate stage and the traditional final in Paris.

Two-time Tour champion Tadej Pogacar, who is the favorite to defend his title next year, has already underlined his intention to follow the women’s race, saying: “Probably when I finish my Tour I’ll go in a motorhome. to see the female turn. It’s a historic moment for cycling, it’s going to be a big event. “

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