VeloNews has confirmed reports that Tour de France organizer A.S.O. is looking to reignite a women’s version of the Tour de France.
While a first women’s Tour was originally organized by Paris-Nice director Jean Leulliot in 1955, the most memorable rendition was organized by the Tour itself from 1984 until 1989. At the time, the race was held in conjunction with the men’s race, with the women finishing earlier in the day. From 1990 it then morphed into the CEE Tour until it was finally abandoned 1993.
Other organizers attempted to continue in the spirit with the Tour Cycliste Féminin from 1992 until 1997, and the Grand Boucle Féminine International from 1998 until its final demise in 2009.
But according to Le Télégramme, a daily from the western region of Brittany, A.S.O. is now planning to revive the race. “We are working seriously on a woman’s stage race project,” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said. “We really want to organize something in the near future.”
A.S.O. edged back slowly into women’s racing in 2014, with La Course by the Tour de France. But they now appear motivated to organize a full stage race, although the actual length has yet to be defined.
Prudhomme is quick to point out that the new women’s race will not be held at the same time as the men’s race. “Holding it before the men’s race is not possible,” he says. “The Tour has grown and the company is not at all the same. It’s not possible.” Prudhomme adds that while the women’s race will not be held during the Tour de France, it will be held during the summer, and August appears to be the most likely date.
Nevertheless, the Tour organizers seem excited by the prospect of a second race, and clearly with the working connections they have with towns and regions around the country, they a in a perfect position to re-create and exciting event.
“We want to speak to everyone,” Prodhomme added. “Not just 50 percent of the population.”