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Women's Tour de France set to return?

Cycling women's.jpg
Womens road cycling.jpg

Believe it or not, there used to be a women's Tour de France. Or rather, as it was better known, the Tour Feminin, which existed between the years 1984 and 2009, until they could no longer find any sponsors.

But hopefully that's all set to change, as British cycling president Brian Cookson has promised to push for reinstating the women's version of the iconic race.

Last month, a petition was launched by athletes, including former world champion and 2008 Olympic time trial silver medallist Emma Pooley and multiple world ironman triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington, to get the competition going again.

The campaign states that they don't want to race against the men but that they want to have their own professional field running in conjunction with the men's event, over the same distances, on the same days, and with modifications in start/finish times, so neither gender's race interferes with the other.

Currently, women's sport faces battles of inequity and road cycling remains one of the worst offenders. There are fewer race opportunities, no televised coverage, shorter distances, and as a result women receive lower salaries and prize money.

However, despite the positive drive from Brian Cookson, he has previously come under fire for saying "If you passed a rule tomorrow saying that a women's pro team had to have a minimum wage, the first result would be you'd lose half the teams, because they couldn't afford it," [via Cycling Weekly].

That said, he recognises that cycling is a "chauvinist sport" and is seeking ways to change it. So, what do you think? Would you like to see a female Tour de France? Tell us in the comments below.

(Images: Picture 1: Nicole Cooke (Team GB) attacks on the outside in Twickenham during the Women's Cycle Road race; Picture 2: Crystal Lane competing the C5 women's road cycling time trial at Brands Hatch)



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