Finally a rendezvous for women in France

Jun 5, 2014
Category: Women's Races 

Excitement is building ahead of next month’s first La Course by Le Tour de France, a circuit race for the world’s best female pro cyclists on the final day of the grandest Grand Tour. Hours ahead of the men’s Tour de France finish, one hundred women will race twelve laps on the streets of Paris including the finishing sprint on cycling’s most famous boulevard, the Champs-Élysées. Equal pay for equal work as the winner will receive 22,500 Euros, the same amount paid to Tour de France stage winners. La Course, overseen entirely by female officials, will have a sprint points competition and the best finisher under age 25 will be crowned. Ladies scoring podium spots will be kissed by male podium hosts.     

When she heard about La Course, newly crowned U.S. National Road Race and Time Trial Champion Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare) said, “When they decided to have a women’s race – really exciting. Now that I’m national champion and get to go over there and represent not only USA, but my team, UnitedHealthcare, wearing this (stars-and-stripes) outfit – it feels like a big honor.”

La Course will be seen in-person by over a million spectators while a global audience will watch the race live on French television and Eurosport International. Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies is sending six athletes to compete. "It is truly an honor to receive an invite to La Course," said the American team's performance director Kevin Field. "I think our team proved at (England's) Women's Tour that they can compete against the world's top talent, and to have an opportunity to race on the Champs-Élysées in front of millions will be spectacular."

UCI President Brian Cookson, who attended the women’s races last month at the Amgen Tour of California, is thrilled about the spotlight La Course will shine on women’s cycling. “I am delighted to see this exciting development for women's cycling. The UCI is committed to support the development of women's cycling, and following my election to the UCI Presidency in 2013 we established a Women's Commission to focus our efforts here. The quality of professional women's road racing has long deserved a wider audience, and we are very happy that this initiative by (Tour de France race organizer) A.S.O. will bring the sport to many fans, new and old. Women's racing on the iconic parcours of the Champs-Élysées is a tremendous step forward, and we are pleased to welcome this addition to the UCI calendar.”

In the U.S., you can tune in July 27 for coverage on the Universal Sports Network.