Eurosport experts Orla Chennaoui and Hannah Walker have welcomed news that a women’s Tour de France will be revived in 2022.
ASO chief Christian Prudhomme made the long-awaited announcement earlier this week. The race is expected to be called Tour de France Femmes.
It will be a standalone event and take place after the men’s race, with ASO saying it would be “logistically impossible” to run them concurrently.
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“It will take place next year, that’s certain,” Prudhomme told the Guardian.
Speaking on The Breakaway, Chennaoui said it would help boost the profile of women’s cycling.
“I have to admit I’ve always been a bit divided on this because I think there’s been such a clamour for a women’s Tour de France, as if that was going to be the saviour of women’s cycling, when we have an incredible calendar already and we have an incredible standard of racing,” she said.
“However, the fact we’re having a women’s Tour de France, just the very title puts it on a world stage in a way that it needs.”
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Walker agreed and questioned whether some of the sport’s big names planning to retire – Anna van der Breggen, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak – might be tempted to scrap those plans following this announcement.
“Why wait any longer? Let’s get it going,” said Walker.
“We had it for five years [1984-89] and since then we’ve seen different versions of that with Route de France, Tour de l’Aude, but with this now – I assume they will take the name – is wonderful.
“And we do have an incredible calendar anyway. But to add a long stage race in, I think that’s something that’s quite nice and needed for the peloton. It’s incredibly exciting. It’ll be interesting, some of those riders retiring at the end of the year, are they getting a bit [uncertain]?”
ASO said that Covid and the Olympics had prevented them putting on the race in 2021.
“I think this is a really good thing for women’s cycling to have the Tour de France and have it right off the back off the men’s one as well,” added Dan Lloyd.
“With Paris-Roubaix, things are really going from strength to strength.”
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