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Women’s cycling ‘We will be looking back on this in 100 years’: Route unveiled for first women’s Tour in more than three decades

RACE director Marion Rousse asserted that “we will be looking back on this in 100 years” as she unveiled the first women’s Tour de France in more than three decades today.

The route for the Tour de France Femmes, announced alongside the route of the 2022 men’s Tour, will start in Paris and finish at the top of the Planche des Belles Filles after an extended, “super” version of the famous climb.

Other highlights of the eight-stage race include Ballon d’Alsace — the site of the first official mountain climb of the men’s Tour de France, in 1905 — and a stage over white gravel in the vineyards of Champagne.

Organisers are aiming for the race to become a permanent fixture of the women’s world tour after various failed attempts. A women’s Tour stage race took place from 1984-89, parallel with the men’s race, before being shortened.

Christian Prudhomme, general director of the men’s race since 2007, said that the biggest challenge in the past was making the race a financially sustainable event.

“If it had been [sustainable], the women’s Tour would have been held for 40 years,” he told reporters before a presentation ceremony.

“The biggest challenge is to broadcast the race. I think we’ve done a good job, with the race starting the same day as the men’s race ends in Paris,” Prudhomme said, adding that the event would be broadcast in 170 countries.

“The goal is to organise a race that will stay, that will still exist in 100 years, that I can watch when I’m old and using a walker,” the 60-year-old said.

The 2022 women’s Tour will run from July 24-31, starting two weeks after the end of the longest women’s race on the calendar, the Giro Donne (July 1-10).

Double Tour champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia, who will be defending his men’s title, is very interested in the event.

“Probably when I finish my Tour, I’m going in a camper to see the women’s Tour,” he told reporters. “It’s a historic moment for cycling — it’s going to be a great event.”

“It’s a big step to have this race. It’s a dream come true,” French champion Evita Muzic added.

“When I was young I would watch the boys ride the Tour, and now it’s going to be little girls watching girls take part in the Tour.”

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