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Marion Rousse has been appointed race director of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
Race organizers ASO confirmed Sunday that the French former rider and current television analyst Rousse will head up the organization of next summer’s inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
“When I was a little girl, I watched the Tour de France on television with admiration, and when I started my career, I suspected that I would never have the opportunity to race in it,” Rousse said in a press statement Sunday.
“So, of course, I was very proud to be asked to take charge of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, especially because we want to do our utmost to make it a dream for little girls to participate.”
The women’s Tour de France will return July 24-31 after various previous incarnations of the race came to a halt in 2009. The eight-day Tour will follow just months after the second edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, also organized by ASO.
The new stage race hopes to plug a coverage gap in the women’s sport after both the Giro Rosa and the Women’s Tour have struggled to guarantee broadcasting time on par with many men’s events.
“Women’s cycling has come a long way in recent years, partly thanks to ASO, but it still lacked a reference stage race with real media coverage,” Rousse said. “Now that I have accepted this mission, I intend to invest myself so that it becomes a ritual among the public, and for a long time, because this is not about launching a race for two or three editions.”
Rousse, 30, has remained in the cycling world since she hung up her race wheels in 2015.
The former French national champ is currently a consultant for France Télévisions and has acted as deputy director of the Tour de la Provence since 2019. She is also the partner of Julian Alaphilippe and the mother of their child.
“If the event is to become the premier race for women’s cycling, it was obvious to call on the best ambassador of this sport, known and appreciated by the general public as well as the experts,” said Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme. “Her immediate enthusiasm to join us confirms the momentum behind the creation of the event.”
The eight stages of the Tour de France Femmes will be presented Thursday, as will the details of the men’s race.
Although full itineraries are yet to be confirmed, it is known that the Tour de France Femmes will roll out of Paris in conjunction with the final stage of the men’s race, July 24.