Veloviews for August 5, 2022 – Tour de France Femmes and Gender Equality

Photo by Munbaik Cycling Clothing on

2022 is a banner year for professional women’s cycling with a pay increase for the athletes and a shiny new race. Today, I’m sharing an article that appeared on CNN toward the end of July that focuses on the fact that, after many years, it now has its own version of the Tour de France called the Tour de France Femmes. The new race took place after the conclusion of the men’s race this year. It consisted of eight stages and covered 639 miles. Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten from team Moviestar was the winner.

But getting this race to happen was a hard-fought victory, which involved a small group of pro-women cyclists petitioning tour organizer ASO. This is not the first time the women pros have had a race of their own. There was a version in 1955, then nothing and no representation until 1984.

That year Marianne Martin won the 7oo mile race. And what was her prize? The very meager sum of $1,000, and all the while there was suspicion hanging over the pro women riders that they would not be able to complete that distance. Meanwhile, Laurent Fignon, who won the men’s version of the race in 1984, walked away with $225,000. A huge discrepancy in athletic recognition to say the least.

Photo by Piotr Saweczko on

That version of the pro women’s Tour de France only lasted until 1989. Lack of funding, sponsorship, and media coverage caused it to fail. And while the race has returned in 2022 with funding and sponsorship from Strava and Zwift, pro-women riders are still not paid at the same level as their male counterparts. That is why many women pro riders work another job and cover their own expenses for races and equipment.

Two years ago in 2020, a pro-woman cyclist only earned a little over $15,000 for the season. This year, however, saw a big increase to over $27,000, and next year it will be $4,000 higher. But the purse for winning the Tour de France Femmes is still meager (250,000 euros) compared to what the winner of the men’s version (2.2 million euros) of the race receives.

I have ridden with lots of women over my years as a bicyclist, both directly and indirectly, and I can testify they are just as strong, just as fast, and just as determined as men. I’m glad to see that women athletes are finally being given the recognition they deserve not only in cycling but also in soccer, basketball, and other sports.

Are you a woman athlete? Are you a woman cyclist? What are your thoughts about the new Tour de France race? Please like, share, and comment on this post and open a discussion. I always enjoy talking about all aspects of cycling. Until next week, enjoy your weekend, stay safe, and ride lots of miles!

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

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