The campaign to reintroduce a women’s Tour de France is going from strength to strength with some 69,801 signatures (updated July 23) already set against an online petition. The women’s Tour de France has had a checkered history; it began in 1984 (as the ‘Tour de France Feminin’), folding five years later and returning for a further stretch from 1992 during which it was rebranded ‘The Grande Boucle’ following trademark disputes; the 2004 event was cancelled due to problems with logistics and the last running of the race was in 2009.
Now though, thanks to support from a number of high profile sports personalities including World Champion Emma Pooley, Dutch superstar Marianne Vos and World Ironman Triathlon Champion Chrissie Wellington, the reintroduction of the event is once more high on the agenda. The Change.org petition, which calls for the ASO (Amaury Sports Organization, the company behind the TdF) to: ‘Allow female professional cycling teams to race the Tour de France’ has been inundated with signatures and positive comments from around the world. Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Pooley said, ‘Running a women’s Tour alongside the men would really bring cycling on, it’s obvious to me. It’s already such a huge logistical operation, adding 50 female cyclists wouldn’t be a problem… In fact the only argument I’ve heard that makes any sense is that there might not be enough hotel rooms.’