The Tour de France has always been a man’s affair, but at one time, there was a shorter, lesser-known women’s version called the Tour de Feminine. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. The Tour de Feminine died in 1989. It was resuscitated under a variety of other names and died again in 2009. A lack of sponsorship and logistic nightmares made the race difficult to hold (Few host towns were willing to hold another bike race and close their streets). But this year, Tour de France organizers (after much prodding) decided they will put on a one-day women’s race in Paris on July 27, just hours prior to the final stage of the men’s Tour de France. This time, they’re calling the women’s race La Course by Le Tour… a mouthful and not nearly as sexy of a name that women deserve! More than 100 of the world’s fastest female road cyclists will compete in La Course, which will loop 13 times around the Champs Elysées. The men’s race will start later in the afternoon with all the pomp, fireworks and awards ceremonies befit of a monarch.
In honor of the ladies who will participate, I suggest a new title for the return of the women’s TdF:
Tour des Dames or Les Grande Dames Boucle, or how about, Dame le Tour?
A few nice bennies for the ladies this year: podium boy kisses, international live race coverage and €22,500 for first prize – equal to that for the men’s stage finisher later in the day. Now that will make La Course worth watching!