'Lack of judgement': Tour des Pyrénées organiser doubles down on women's peloton criticism

‘We run the risk that there will no longer be women’s races in France,’ says event organiser

Women's peloton at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
(Image credit: Getty)

The organiser of the CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées has again hit out at the competing riders, following the UCI’s decision to cancel the race on Sunday. 

The three-day event, won by FDJ-Suez’s Marta Cavalli, ran for just two stages before it was stopped amid safety concerns with parked and moving cars on the race course.

In a new statement shared with Cycling Weekly on Monday, the race organiser accused some of the riders of showing a “lack of judgement” in asking for the race to be cancelled. 

“We had the ambition to promote women’s cycling, to make little girls at the roadside dream… It is clear that we are still far from our initial objective,” the statement said. 

“Undoubtedly, there was a misunderstanding and also a lack of judgement on the part of certain riders.” 

The statement follows comments from event organiser Pascal Baudron, who called the riders "spoiled children".

During the race’s first stage, the peloton raced on open roads, dodging parked cars in the finale in Lourdes. The problem persisted on stage two, resulting in the peloton coming to a halt and neutralising the race until the final climb, Hautacam. 

Following the second stage, a number of teams pulled out of the race, including Jumbo-Visma, who wrote on Twitter: “The safety on the course leaves something to be desired.” 

The statement from the race organiser continued: “We are not evading the safety issues at the end of the first stage. We also took note of them.

“That considered, the measures were fixed and changed to allow us to offer a completely safe second stage. This was also the view of the UCI representatives on site. 

“For reasons unknown to us, the governing body decided to take on the position of a handful of riders, against the view of the representatives on site, some of whom have more than 25 years of experience.” 

The decision to stop the race, taken by the UCI, came after discussions with the rider union Cyclistes Professionels Asssociés (CPA) on Saturday evening. Afterwards, the union’s president, Adam Hansen, released a statement supporting the decision to discontinue the event, writing: “We firmly believe that a bike race is not worth endangering the lives of female cyclists.” 

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The latest statement from the race organiser also addressed the rider unions. “The professional rider unions and the UCI should nevertheless consider the fact that, in France, it is not possible to completely close roads for a bike race, except for the Tour de France. 

“If we continue like this, we run the risk that there will no longer be women’s races in France.” 

In spite of this, images shared on Twitter by AWOL O’Shea rider Connie Hayes showed road closures in Lourdes for a sportive event, two days after the Tour des Pyrénées passed through. 

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