Female Cyclists Demand Inclusion in Tour de France

July 12, 2013 | Marie Calloway

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Marianne Vos and several other champion women cyclists have created an online petition demanding the ability to compete in the prestigious Tour de France. Women are currently barred from competing in it due to rules that limit the distance of women’s road races.

“In the late 1960’s, people assumed that women couldn’t run the marathon,” Vos explains. “30 years on,we can look back and see how erroneous this was. Hopefully 30 years from now, we will see 2014 as the year that opened people’s eyes to true equality in the sport of cycling.”

Female cyclists lament that their exclusion from the Tour de France and general second class status in cycling leads to “fewer race opportunities, no televised coverage, shorter distances, and therefore salary and prize money inequity.”

The petition goes on to clarify that, “we seek not to race against the men, but to have our own professional field running in conjunction with the men’s event, at the same time, over the same distances, on the same days, with modifications in start/finish times so neither gender’s race interferes with the other.” Even if this demand was fulfilled, it might not lead to full participation in cycling for women (and all the spoils that that brings), but it certainly sets a new precedent.

The LA Time’s informal poll showed that around 75% of people thought that women should be able to compete in the Tour de France, and 25% of people did not.

(Photo: George Menager/Flickr)