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Prudhomme hints at women’s Tour de France by 2022

The surprise addition of Paris-Roubaix confirms ASO's growing interest in women's racing.

With the women’s Paris-Roubaix now officially on the calendar, it might not be long before there is a women’s Tour de France.

That’s according to Christian Prudhomme, who told AFP that a women’s Tour could come as soon as 2022.

“Our goal remains the same, with the idea of having a race that would take place after the Tour de France,” Prudhomme told AFP. “Now the calendar is considerably shaken up. And now, in 2021, there will be the Olympic Games. It would be logical to envision it for 2022.”

Many within women’s cycling have long pushed for their own edition of cycling’s marquee stage race. Other versions of a French women’s tour have come and gone, but many are hopeful a high-profile project backed by the powerful ASO race organization would bring a higher media profile and prestige.

Some wondered why a women’s race could not be held simultaneously as the men each July by simply running the women’s race on parts of the same route each morning. Tour officials said logistically it would be too challenging to pull off, and say that the Tour requires the full resources of security and regional police forces.

The Tour has backed La Course since 2014, running it on different points along the men’s race. The 2020 edition of La Course, originally scheduled for Paris, will be held on August 29 in Nice, France, Prudhomme confirmed.

Prudhomme has long expressed interest in expanding ASO’s reach into women’s cycling, and said the addition of the women’s Paris-Roubaix on October 25 reflects their commitment.

“We want to expand, step by step, the number of women’s races,” Prudhomme told AFP. “The UCI has clearly set the path for women’s cycling. We have to keep adapting.”

Details of the Paris-Roubaix course are still to be determined, with Prudhomme adding, “certain mythical cobblestone sectors will be included.”

Many inside the women’s peloton applauded the surprise addition of Paris-Roubaix especially after many expressed concerns that the cycling governing body was not putting women’s cycling at the center of discussions when key stakeholders began mapping out a revised calendar for the second half of 2020.

Trek-Segafredo’s Audrey Cordon-Ragot told L’Equipe she never believed she would race “the most beautiful of classics.”

“We had the impression the UCI was not listening to us,” she told L’Equipe. “When I heard the news that we will have a Paris-Roubaix, I told myself that we really are being taken seriously, that the UCI is on our side, that ASO also understood it was important to race these classics.”

With the addition of Paris-Roubaix, there are now women’s versions of three of the five “monuments.” A women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège was introduced in 2018, and the women’s Tour of Flanders dates back to 2004. Primavera Rosa, a version of Milan-Sanremo, ran from 1999 to 2005, leaving Sanremo and the Giro di Lombardia as the remaining two “monuments” without a women’s edition.