Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has been criticised for stating that all of the women’s races organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) lose funds. Prudhomme created the controversial remark in an job interview with the Guardian although at the exact same time confirming that the organisation would launch a return of the women’s Tour de France in 2022.
“In my perspective, you have to put to 1 facet the notion of parity involving males and women of all ages. Why? Since there was a purpose why [the women’s Tour de France held between 1984-89] only lasted for six decades, and that was a deficiency of economic harmony. What we want to do is build a race that will keep the course, that will be established up and stand the check of time. What that suggests is that the race are unable to reduce income,” Prudhomme said, though also warning that if the new women’s Tour de France loses ASO dollars, then it could encounter one more cancellation.
“Nowadays, all the women’s races that we organise drop us funds,” Prudhomme reported. “Even so, we have been managing Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La System by Le Tour. There was the Tour of Yorkshire and the Tour de Qatar Feminin, there will be Paris-Roubaix in October. If it tends to make income, that’s wonderful, but it mustn’t get rid of revenue, or it will finish up like the Tour in the 80s, and it will die.”
The women’s peloton raced their initially ASO-run women’s Tour de France in 1984, gained by American Marianne Martin, but the occasion ended in 1989.
ASO has gone on to organise women’s a single-day races in La Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course, and the inaugural Paris-Roubaix (scheduled for Oct). On the other hand, the organisation has been criticised for not such as the women’s peloton as portion of the official Tour de France for the past 30 years.
Losing revenue or investing
La Study course by Le Tour de France was designed in 2014 subsequent a petition to ASO contacting for a women’s Tour de France. Le Tour Entier’s petition was led by Kathryn Bertine, Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and Chrissie Wellington and secured 97,307 signatures. The event is now heading into its eighth version and will be held on June 26 in Brest in conjunction with the opening stage of the men’s Tour de France.
La Study course has turn out to be just one of the most popular situations on the Women’s WorldTour in its 7 seasons, but nevertheless, ASO had come underneath fire around the decades for not adhering to by means of with its assure to grow that function into a women’s Tour de France.
ASO confirmed to Cyclingnews that it ideas to hold La System operating after launching its women’s Tour de France – speculated to be identified as Tour de France Femmes – in 2022.
“There are a whole lot of techniques to glimpse at Prudhomme’s responses Blunt, sexist, maddening. The fact, although, is his pure ignorance,” Bertine advised Cyclingnews on Wednesday when questioned if there had been factors of truth to Prudhomme’s remarks or if it was incorrect to have publicly framed ASO’s women’s races as being unprofitable.
Bertine not too long ago printed STAND: A memoir on activism. A manual for development. What definitely comes about when we stand on the entrance strains of change, which aspects, in section, Le Tour Entier’s petition for a women’s Tour de France, the creation of La Program, and assembly with ASO.
“Very first, women’s races do make funds. The televised, streaming viewership stats confirm the demand from customers is there. I know, due to the fact we had obtain to the stats by way of Universal Sporting activities in 2014, when I raced La System. It was a massive results. The income was and is there,” she mentioned.
“If ASO want to disguise powering their inaccurate declare that ‘women’s functions eliminate money’, they require to teach themselves. Fast. They are the ones in demand of whether or not an function succeeds or fails. ASO need to start endorsing women’s activities in the media equivalent to how they market men. This isn’t rocket science.
“Picture wherever biking will be when ASO and UCI ultimately comprehend that females athletes are exceptionally marketable. When finished correctly, the whole activity of biking will rise, thrive and be far additional economically profitable than it is now,” Bertine additional.
“It is not the task of girls cyclists to demonstrate their really worth – they already have. It is the occupation of ASO to make investments in the athletes and races they create.
“The reality that we will have a 2022 women’s Tour de France is a sport-changer. But Prudhomme’s archaic comments about women’s racing has a ‘set up to fail’ tone, and that would not do a lot to verify ASO have evolved from their dinosaur views of women, sports activities and equality.”
Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel joined the discussion on profitability, emphasising the relevance of having a lengthy-time period expenditure system in place for their women’s one-working day functions.
Flanders Classics has a 4-yr system referred to as ‘Closing the Gap’, launched last 12 months, which involved supplying dwell broadcasting and bringing parity to the prize payouts. ASO has furnished are living streaming of La Class in preceding decades. Continue to, it only extended reside coverage to Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège for the initial time last year, beneath the UCI’s new prerequisite to be portion of the Women’s WorldTour.
Flanders Classics has also fulfilled its purpose of hosting women’s gatherings in conjunction with all six of its men’s Spring Classics: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars Doorway Vlaanderen, Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs, and Brabantse Pijl.
“We consider in women’s biking, so as a substitute of calling it ‘losing money’, I rather phone it investing. We are practically at the tipping position where broadcasters and sponsors are wanting in on women’s cycling. We all just have to have to retain up the great get the job done,” Van Den Spiegel explained.
Cyclingnews reached out to ASO requesting further information and facts, clarification and remark, concerning the fiscal information of organising its women’s and men’s occasions along with their gains or losses, and for supplemental details of its system to create a women’s Tour de France with longevity. ASO declined to comment on Prudhomme’s statements to the Guardian and on Cyclingnews‘ stick to-up thoughts.
“About the job interview of Mr. Prudhomme with the Guardian we won’t make any further more remark,” a consultant from ASO wrote to Cyclingnews.
Not a sideshow
Prudhomme explained that when ASO wished to build a women’s Tour de France that would survive in the very long time period, he felt that there were being troubles in figuring how “to set up a race that can are living for 100 many years”.
Section of ASO’s program contains holding the women’s Tour de France the week following the men’s event. ASO has not unveiled the stages or distance of the women’s occasion. Even so, it has been documented that it is expected to host an 8-working day women’s race that would start off in Paris on the same day the males end their stage 21 of Tour de France on the Champs Élysées.
In an interview with Cyclingnews Wednesday, European winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) was happy that Prudhomme verified the women’s Tour de France for 2022 right after several years of speculation about whether this sort of a race would occur to fruition.
Van Vleuten declined to comment on the profitability of ASO’s women’s races. She did agree with Prudhomme’s logic in hosting the women’s Tour de France right just after the men’s party. She fears the men’s Tour de France would overshadow the women’s race if they ended up held at the identical time.
“It really is superior that the function has been verified,” Van Vleuten explained to Cyclingnews. “It is also fantastic that it will be held the week after the men’s Tour de France. I have much more assurance in this variety of set-up since it is really still linked to the men’s Tour de France, but not at the very same time, for the reason that then you are battling anything you will under no circumstances gain. The men’s occasion is so major.
“I believe in this principle, and I’m incredibly joyful that they set the two races together in the identical time period [back-to-back] so we have the people following our occasion as a stand-by itself race.
“As Prudhomme claimed, the race will expense funds, and we you should not want it to shed income. We have to have to offer ourselves, we need to have to have terrific tales, we need to have to be on television, and men and women will need to watch this race. If it were being organised throughout the Tour de France, we would only be a sideshow.
“It truly is about revenue, and we want to have the admirers, we want the tv, and it requires to be marketed like the men’s Tour de France, so all that desires to be the very same for the ladies.”
There has been an ongoing discussion on the timing of a women’s Tour de France. Some, like Van Vleuten, consider the race desires to be held independently, though some others believe ASO ought to host the women’s race at the exact time as the men’s Tour de France alongside all its history and fanfare.
“I consider each races can and should really be held concurrently, as it gains the supporters, sponsors and goes a very long way to foster gender inclusion. We see this in most endurance athletics, like marathon, triathlon and other biking functions,” Bertine mentioned.
“That explained, holding the women’s race straight after the men’s race can without a doubt be a pretty superior ‘stand-alone’ party… but only if ASO invests equally in the media publicity and promotion of the females. If ASO treats the women’s race like an afterthought with fewer broadcast and media legal rights, much less sponsor gains and a dumbed-down route, then ASO is providing tokenism in place of equality and environment the race up to are unsuccessful. They will need to provide fresh new, new promoting and media experts on board, as so many of Prudhomme’s statements of women’s racing and abilities are quite, incredibly antiquated.”
Cyclingnews spoke with inaugural winner Marianne Martin for an article entitled La Grande Boucle, La Study course and the return of the women’s Tour de France.
Martin thinks the women’s Tour de France should run like it utilised to, across 18 times and held concurrently with the men’s celebration. She also thinks the functions must share begins and finishes and use pieces of the very same route and legendary mountain passes like the Col du Galibier, Mont Ventoux, Tourmalet, and l’Alpe d’Huez.
“The excellent women’s Tour de France, in my thoughts, would be like we did it back again in 1984. I believe it should really be held at the same time as the men’s race. Why would it be any unique?”