27 Jul TOUR DE FRANCE FEMMES
In this last week of July, history is made. After three decades of waiting, La Grande Boucle returned for women with the Tour de France Femmes. The maillot jaune is finally being awarded to a female cyclist.
The route and stages were built to be increasingly tougher. The degree of difficulty of the climbs increased over the eight days of the race. After a slightly tough start on the first two stages, the road started to rise. Thereafter, the newly introduced “white roads” took the riders through the Champagne vineyards. After a sapping approach to the mountains between Bar-le-Duc and Rosheim, the Tour de France Femmes reached the main climbs in the Vosges at the start of the final weekend. Then came the finale – climbing towards the Super Planche des Belles Filles after crossing the historic and mythical Ballon d’Alsace. There was no rest for these ladies!
The Tour de France Femmes, in numbers:
- This first edition of the Tour de France Femmes took place in the East. It crossed 3 regions, Île-de-France, Grand Est and Bourgogne–Franche-Comté, and 11 departments.
- 24 trade teams with 6 riders each took part.
- There is a total of 8 road stages, divided as follows:
o 4 flat stages
o 2 hilly stages
o 2 mountain stages with one summit finish at La super Planche des Belles Filles (stage 8)
o The 5th stage, Bar-le-Duc > Saint-Diédes-Vosges (175km), the longest of the race.
- There was one mountain massif on the programme, the Vosges, which featured during the final two stages. The race’s highest point was the Grand Ballon (1,336m), which was crossed during the 7th stage.
- A striking feature, on stage 4, was the “white roads”, chalky tracks that wind through the vineyards. There was a total of 12.9km of white road across 4 different sectors.
- A live broadcast of 2 hours each day on the French national channel, France Télévision and on international channels.
- A total of €250,000 will e awarded across the different stages, jersey and team competitions, including €50,000 to the winner of the final general classification.
With an 80% female team, the growth of women’s sports is of paramount importance to the MetaSport team. This topic is always a key discussion point whenever we create our events. Our goal is to encourage more women to do sport and compete. This is why for the Tour de Bintan, we have decided to flag off the women’s wave last. It may sound like a detail on the event schedule, as historically there was already a women’s wave, but originally, this wave was starting more towards the front. Previously, we thought it would be nice for them to have company. However, we got feedback from first timers that it was intimidating to be passed by fast pelotons of young guns going full gas. Moreover, the competitive female felt that the women’s race was never fair as they could jump on the men’s wheels. These are the main reasons why, for the first time this year, the women’s wave will start last. Hopefully, with these changes and movement in the sport scene and our events, more women will be encouraged to participate and compete in races and inspire more generations to come.