The Tour de France organiser has confirmed that the revived women's Tour de France will take place shortly after the men's event in the summer of 2022.
The general director of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), Christian Prudhomme, has officially confirmed that the women's Tour will return to the racing calendar for the first time since 1989.
The race has been rumoured to be in the pipeline for some time with UCI president, David Lappartient confirming last year that the event will happen in 2022 (opens in new tab).
Prudhomme has now officially confirmed this news to The Guardian (opens in new tab) saying the event was set to take place this year, but with the Covid-19 pandemic and the Olympics likely taking all the best riders, they decided to hold off till 2022.
Prudhomme said: “The decision has been taken. There will be a Tour de France femmes in 2022 following closely after the [men’s] Tour.”
He continued that the women's race should have its own identity away from the male side of the sport and create its own history.
“In my view, you have to put to one side the idea of parity between men and women," Prudhomme said. "Why? Because there was a reason why that race only lasted for six years, and that was a lack of economic balance. What we want to do is create a race that will stay the course, that will be set up and stand the test of time. What that means is that the race cannot lose money."
Prudhomme said that every women's race that ASO organises loses money but it still continues to fund Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course, and will be running a first Paris-Roubaix later this year.
He added that if the women's Tour loses money then it will be much like the race in the 1980s and "die" again.
“If that balance had been achieved then, we would be on our 35th women’s Tour now," Prudhomme said. "The challenge is to set up a race that can live for 100 years. That’s why we want it to follow the men’s Tour, so that the majority of the channels which broadcast the men’s Tour will cover it as well.”
Women's cycling is on the up with new races added to the calendar for upcoming seasons, including the new six-day stage race 'Battle of the North' in Scandinavia alongside live coverage of the Giro Rosa. The British stage race, the Women's Tour, will also return to its position in the calendar after a year out due to Covid-19.
There has been no information about what the route will be like for the new Tour de France next year, but Prudhomme has said that they won't be looking for the hardest or steepest climbs but rather they will link to the past, which will potentially mean using some of the climbs made famous by the men's race.
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