There is no women’s Tour de France. I wish there was. I am 100% behind most of the many and varied attempts to get one.
But the whole “x amateur women are riding it to try and get one” that’s getting all the media attention this year strikes me as the worst possible way.
Partly this is the media’s fault. The first week of the Tour is the one with all the boring flat stages, so the media look for anything they can to write about. And this is an interesting thing to write about.
Unfortunately, it means that they aren’t covering the Giro Rosa*. Given the Giro is the only one of the grand tours that actually has a women’s race, this is frustrating. Especially as it was such a good race. Annemiek van Vleuten is just amazing.
Compare the coverage of the amateur race with the coverage of La Course, where the the UCI Pro women’s teams race the most interesting stage of the Tour in the morning before the men. La Course is down to one stage which is annoying but hopefully the joy of crowd might convince them to give it a second stage again.
Also, see, I told you van Vleuten was amazing.
Another annoying thing is the amount of face time Skoda are getting for backing the amateur race. If you’ve got that much money, Skoda, you can fund a goddamn women’s pro tour race! (Sorry!)
The other thing that annoyed me was the people who were up in arms about the lack of women’s Tour but were willing to ignore the Giro Rosa. It could be because the media don’t cover the Giro Rosa so people don’t know about it. Or it could be people just enjoy getting enraged without doing some background research.
I think we’re more likely to get a women’s Tour if we makes the most of the excellent riders we have now. That wil make it clear to sponsors that they can get recognition and sales money (or possibly tax write-offs) by sponsoring them or a race. This involves building on the successes of the Giro Rosa, and races like it. To an extent, we are getting there, just look at the number of UCI pro women’s teams. Also look at how many of them attached to men’s teams, suggesting a more stable funding stream.
Build from what we’ve got works better than build from nothing.
*The pink thing isn’t pinkification, it’s the colour of the original race sponsors so the men’s jersey is also the pink jersey.