Women’s Tour de France Needs You
By Sam Squiers
In one of the biggest developments in the history of the Tour de France, women will take their place in the iconic race this year…but now it’s up to you to help them.
Following a massive worldwide push for women to have their own Tour de France the UCI and ASO have responded with a one day race on the final stage.
La Course by Le Tour de France will ride into the Champs Elysees ahead of the men on the last day and will be broadcast live on Eurosport.
The announcement follows a huge push on social media by some of the sport’s biggest stars, including World Champion Marianne Vos, calling for the establishment of a Women’s Tour de France. Their online petition attracted around 100,000 signatures.
And although it can be argued that its new name is slightly patronising, the move certainly isn’t.
This may just be one day, but it’s not a token gesture. It’s a trial. A test to see how popular, supported and lucrative women’s cycling is. It won’t remain a one day race forever, moving forward it will grow and develop in the sporting landscape and in people’s consciousness. The aim is to have the Women’s Tour de France grow to be the most prestigious and popular event on the Women’s calendar, like it is with the men.
But that can’t happen without your help.
Too often people complain about women’s sport not receiving the same amount of support and reward as the men’s without actually making the effort to follow, watch and engage in women’s sport themselves.
It can be difficult if it’s not televised but there are other ways of showing your interest. Follow the cyclists on social media, engage with the riders, follow their progress and most importantly, start a conversation about the riders with your friends. If you find it interesting then encourage them to be interested as well.
This isn’t the first time that they have tried to introduce a women’s Tour de France. Tour de Feminin took on many names and forms between 1984-2009, with some years cancelled completely because of a lack of sponsorship. Ultimately this was the reason for its eventual demise.
A lot has changed in women’s cycling since then. The cycling itself is more exciting and thrilling, it’s tactical and ballsy and makes for compelling viewing. The other big change is that it’s now being played out through the twitter, facebook, instagram and snapchat era.
While this year won’t be the first attempt at a Women’s Tour de France, it will be the first attempt in this new social media world. Fans now don’t have to rely on a company’s market research, ratings or perhaps sexist bias to determine how popular an event is and whether it should stay. People now have a powerful way of showing support and interest from anywhere in the world – albeit in 140 characters.
Cycling organisations, big business, the media and publicity machines follow popular trends and now with social media there’s the perfect opportunity to show how important this race is. Follow the riders on social media, retweet and like their posts, write posts yourself about the race and make sure your friends spread the word by sharing or retweeting them. If you can’t get a conversation about it going at the water-cooler at work, get it out there in the cyber-world.
Get your hashtags ready girls – the future of the race is at your fingertips.
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA: tweet us any other recommendations @sportette_au and we’ll add it to the list
Marianne Vos t @marianne_vos i @mariannevosofficial
Kathryn Bertine t @KathrynBertine
Emma Pooley t @PooleyEmma
Chrissie Wellington t @chrissiesmiles
Emma Johnasson t @emmaprocyclist i @emmaprocyclist
Kirsten Wild t @kirsten_wild
Ellen van Dijk t @ellenvdijk i @emvandijk
Elizabeth Armitstead t @L_ArmiTstead i @l_armitstead
Giorgia Bronzini t @GiorgiaBronzini i @giorgia_bronzini
Chloe Hosking t @chloe_hosking i @chloe_hosking_
Tiffany Cromwell t @tiffanycromwell i @tiffanyjane_01
Linda Villumsen t @LVillumsen
Elisa Longo Borghini t @ElisaLongoB i @elisalongob
Loes Gunnewijk t @loesgunnewijk
Amy Pieters t @amypieters i @amypieters
Katrin Garfoot t @katrin_garfoot i @katrin_garfoot
Evelyn Stevens t @evelyn_stevens i @evelyn_stevens
Shelley Olds t @ShellyJOlds
Rochelle Gilmore t @RochelleGilmore
Loren Rowney t @lorenrowney i @lorenrowney
Carlee Taylor t @carleetaylor1 i @carleetaylor1
Jo Hogan t @healthycyclist
Peta Mullens t @petamullens i @petamullens
Alena Aaliusik t @amialiusik
Simona Frapporti t @simonafrapporti
Susy Zorzi t @susyzorzi
Anna Stricker t @anna_stricker
Sarah Roy t @Sar_Roy
Sportette t @sportette_au i @sportette_au
Kate Bates t @KatherineLBates i @Kateybates82
Sarah Connolly t @_pigeons_
Aaron S. Lee t @aaronshanelee
Le Tour Entier t @letourentier
Dotsie Bausch t @DotsieBausch
Peloton Watch t @PelotonWatch
UCI Women’s Cycling t @UCIWomenCycling
John Orbea t @Cyclopunk
Women’s Cycling Association t @wca_tweet
Race Vista t @RaceVista
Orica-AIS t @ORICA_GreenEDGE i @oricagreenedge
Ale Cipollini t @CipolliniTeam
Astana Bepink t @BePinkTeam
Bizkaia-Durango t @BizkaiaD2013
Boels Dolmans t @boelsdolmansct
Hitec Products t @Hitec_Products
Lotto Belisol Ladies t @LB_Ladies
Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies t @OPTUMpbKBS
Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86 t @VFuturoscope
Rabo Liv Women t @RaboLiv
Rusvelo t @RusveloTeam
Specialized-Lululemon t @velociosports
Team Giant-Shimano t @GiantShimano
United Healthcare Pro Cycling t @UHCprocycling
Wiggle Honda t @WiggleHonda