Women’s Tour de France to feature eight stages and summit finish

Dutch rider Demi Vollering (centre) celebrates winning the 2021 La Course
Dutch rider Demi Vollering won the 2021 La Course

The women’s Tour de France, which will be held for the first time in 33 years in 2022, is set to feature eight stages through eastern France.

Starting on the final day of the men’s Tour, the Tour de France Femmes will see competitors tackle two mountain stages – including a summit finish for the last stage.

“It’s a balanced route that will suit several types of riders,” race director Marion Rousse said.

The event takes place 24-31 July.

Riders will set off from the centre of Paris and complete the route eight days later at the top of the Planche des Belles Filles.

Men’s Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said he hopes the women’s race will have longevity on the calendar, but making it a financial success could prove tough.

“If it had been [sustainable], the women’s Tour would have been held for 40 years,” said Prudhomme before a presentation ceremony for the 2022 men’s and women’s Tours.

“The biggest challenge is to broadcast the race. I think we’ve done a good job, with the race starting the same day as the men’s race ends in Paris.”

About 190 countries broadcast the men’s race, with Prudhomme estimating 170 countries will see the start of the women’s event.

In contrast to the men’s event, where 300 towns apply and pay to host a stage every year, Prudhomme had to approach candidates personally for the women’s race.

“But they are all paying an entry fee and to give you an element of comparison, it’s more than for [the week-long men’s stage races] Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine,” he added.

“The goal is to organise a race that will stay, that will still exist in 100 years, that I can watch when I’m old and using a walker.”

The original Tour de France Feminin ran alongside the men’s race with the same organisers from 1984 to 1989.

After being taken over by new organisers in 1990, a renamed women’s version of the Tour continued, but had several schedule changes.

Men’s Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) started running women’s race La Course in 2014, but it has only been a one or two-day event in its eight editions to date.

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