Tour De France For Women A Possibility

The Tour de France may have some more competition come the 2014 races if the online petition asking for the Tour de France have an event for women goes through.

The Tour de France bicycle races have traditionally only been open to men.

According to USA Today, Kathryn Bertine, an American cyclist, journalist and filmmaker, recently launched an online petition on Change.org directed toward Christian Prudhomme, the Tour director, hoping to change that.

The petition specifically asks that women be allowed to ride and compete in the 2014 Tour de France games.

After five days, the petition has already gained more than 28,000 signatures.

“I’ve personally had a business plan for initiating this change since 2009, and since then I’ve been bonding with like-minded women who want to see a change, so now I think we’re in the position to make this happen,” Bertine said.

“We’re excited to see the petition taking off, but we’re not at all shocked. It’s something I think the world would and should be behind.”

Bertine claims that the intent of the petition is not to have women actually compete against the men during the races, but instead, to have a separate professional women’s field of the same name and distance on the same days as the men’ race.

“Everybody’s saying the Tour de France is turning 100, but all female cyclists are saying that the Men’s Tour de France is turning 100 and we still haven’t been invited yet.”

Bertine’s petition states that the Tour de France Féminin, later renamed the Grand Boucie, “lacked parity, media coverage, and sponsorship.”

The Guardian reported that there had been a women’s version of the Tour held in France between 1984 and 2009, but has not been run in recent years, largely due to problems finding sponsors.

The USA Today report stated that the USA Cycling released a statement that said it encourages and supports equality in the sport, which is reflected in its national championships.

The statement read as follows:

“A stand-alone women’s Tour de France would be a great platform to showcase the top talent in women’s cycling, but we also appreciate there will be major logistical, financial and broadcasting challenges and ramifications in having a women’s race parallel the men’s event,”

“Were going to do everything that we need to do to make sure we end this tradition of sexism in sports. We will do whatever is necessary so that our voices are heard,” Bertine said.

What are your thoughts on the idea of having a Tour de France for women?

[photo credit: Steve Selwood via photopin cc]