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”I am delighted that ASO has decided to organise a women’s race this year, to accompany the Tour de France. I am very excited to be taking part, especially with the majestic finish on the Champs-Elysées," Marianne Vo...

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01.02.2014 @ 16:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Coinciding with the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France, the elite of women’s cycling will come together on July 27th for the first edition of La Course by Le Tour de France. The event is destined to become an iconic race in the women’s calendar.

 

Every year, the finish of the Tour de France marks the outcome of the most exciting drama of the cycling year, and represents a massive tribute to cycling followed by TV audiences in 190 countries. In 2014, a new event that will give an even more universal dimension to the Tour has been added to the programme.

 

A few hours before the men’s peloton arrives in Paris, the world’s elite women cyclists will race the circuit in the historic heart of the city before fighting out a final sprint at the finish line on the Champs-Elysées.

 

The prestige of the setting and the atmosphere in general will be enhanced by another top-level event in the form of this first edition, as La Course by Le Tour has attracted the interest of the world’s top women riders.

 

The organisers of the Tour de France ASO have been involved in the development of women’s cycling for a long time through the Ladies Tour of Qatar and the Flèche Wallonne for ladies but they were quick to refuse the idea brought up by Marianne Vos and other female cyclists last summer when they suggested that a women's race should be run concurrently with the Tour de France.

 

Yann Le Moenner, Managing Director of ASO, explained the decision to create the race.

 

.“Making a contribution to the development of all forms of cycling is a vocation for the Tour de France," he said. "This is even more so when it is about supporting a discipline that is clearly on the up and has been making its mark in professional sport for many years now. As the event par excellence that attracts enormous crowds and TV viewers, the Tour has decided to welcome a women’s race during one of its outstanding stages, in an event that will have maximum exposure. La Course by Le Tour and its champions are invited to conquer ‘planet bicycle’”.

 

UCI president Brian Cookson who had the improvement of women's cycling as an important part of his manifesto, celebrated the new race.

 

“I am delighted to see this exciting development for women’s cycling," he said. "The UCI is committed to support the development of women’s cycling, and following my election to the UCI Presidency in 2013 we established a Women’s Commission to focus our efforts here. The quality of professional women’s road racing has long deserved a wider audience, and we are very happy that this initiative by ASO will bring the sport to many fans, new and old. Women’s racing on the iconic parcours of the Champs Elysees is a tremendous step forward, and we are pleased to welcome this addition to the UCI calendar”.

 

Vos was equally supportive.

 

”I am delighted that ASO has decided to organise a women’s race this year, to accompany the Tour de France," she said. "I am very excited to be taking part, especially with the majestic finish on the Champs-Elysées. The launch of this race is a revolutionary development in our sport. The Tour is the pinnacle of professional cycling, and I have no doubt that La Course by Le Tour identifies a new era for women’s cycling and will significantly contribute to the growth of road racing."

 

Four-time Triathlon World Champion Chrissie Wellington is one of the riders who have advocated for the idea.

 

“The Le Tour Entier group (LTE), founded by myself, Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and Kathryn Bertine, are passionate about helping to grow women’s cycling and women’s sport and we have long been convinced that one of the best ways of achieving our mission is to work with the Tour de France, the beacon of world cycling," she said. "It was wonderful for LTE to have the opportunity to work together with ASO to realise our shared passion to continue to grow the sport for the benefit of all. La Course by Le Tour marks a giant step forward for women’s cycling, and one that the athletes, teams and the public around the world will undoubtedly support.”

 

Details of the race format will be revealed in the course of a press conference some time in spring 2014.

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