What does it take to complete the Tour de France?

Maria David gets a vivid insight into the demands of the race from a team of amateur women who completed the full route one month ahead of the pros

(Marie Istil)

What does it really take for Joe or Jill Bloggs – normal amateur riders – to complete the full route of this year’s Tour de France? We don’t need to speculate, because a group of amateur women have just returned home from doing just that.

Each year for the last six years, international team Donnons des elles au Vélo has ridden the route of the Tour de France as part of their campaign calling for a women’s Tour de France, while raising the profile of women’s cycle racing. The team consists of 13 riders, selected from around 100 applicants. Guests (men and women) can accompany the group on the rides, though it is the women’s team that takes centre stage. In a normal year, they ride each stage one day ahead of the pros, but due to the pandemic, this year’s ride took place one month ahead.

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