After decades of existing in the shadow of the men’s Tour de France, if not being able to exist at all, female cyclists now have their Tour. The first yellow jersey goes to 23-year-old Dutchwoman Lorena Wiebes.
It took years and several feminist revolutions for this sporting competition to be organized. At the end of the 1980s, for example, it seemed normal to the runner Marc Madiot to launch in the middle of the televised debate to a particularly calm Jeannie Longo: “ You guys are ugly, I’m sorry. (…) There are sports that are masculine and sports that are feminine (…) It is an extremely difficult sport and I love women too much to see them sufferr”.
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Eight steps in eight days
The runners therefore set off this Sunday, July 24 at 1:30 p.m. for eight stages over more than 1,000 kilometers between Paris and Alsace. Unlike the men’s edition which ends this same Sunday evening, the 144 runners start in Paris at the start of the afternoon. They will follow the Seine to the Jardin des Tuileries, followed by the Place de la Concorde to finally take the ascent of the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. This first stage ended with the victory of Lorena Wiebes, 23-year-old Dutchwoman. On the podium, where she receives this first yellow jersey, we see her holding her baby in her arms. A definitively historic Tour.
The rest of the program is short: eight stages in eight days. After two stages in Champagne and a crossing of Alsace, the Tour will end with a demanding finale in the reliefs of the Vosges.
The last two stages should also be the highlights of the Grande Boucle. Divided into twenty-four teams of six participants, the riders will compete between Sélestat and Markstein, on the eve of the finish. They will have to face a mountainous triptych over 127 km: the Petit Ballon (9.3 km at 8.1%), the Col du Platzerwasel (7.1 km at 8.3%) and the Grand Ballon (13.5 km at 6.7%). Before competing the next day on the Ballon d’Alsace (8.7 km at 6.9%) then, finally, on the final stage towards the Super Planche des Belles Filles (7 km at 8.7%).
The victory should go to a Dutchwoman, according to Franceinfo, which specifies “remains to be seen which”. Lorena Wiebes has taken the lead but it could also be Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), 39 years old and favorite, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma, 35 years old and three Giros on the clock), or even Demi Vollering (SD Worx, 25). Italy follows closely in the forecasts, then Denmark and South Africa with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx), “ outstanding climber “. On the French side, it is Audrey Cordon-Ragot who wears the tricolor tunic.