the popular success of the Tour de France Women, “unheard of” in women’s cycling

That’s the story of ita big folk festival around the bike. We knew the unwavering success of the men’s Tour de France, here comes that of its little sister, the Women’s Tour de France, which is heading for the Super Planche des Belles-Filles for the eighth and final stage, on Sunday 31 July.

An audience that responds

In just eight steps, the race has conquered a new audience, more than 30 years after the last edition. Certainly a little less numerous than at certain male stages, but thousands of spectators however came to gather at Vejkanten, especially in the two Alsace stages.

Michel chose to set up his camping table at the foot of the Petit Ballon hill before arriving in Markstein during the seventh stage on Saturday. Stages of the Tour de France, this ch’ti has seen it dozens more. “This year we went to see the men’s Tour de France in Cornimont, near Bresse”he explains. “There wasn’t much difference in the atmosphere compared to here. What I see when I talk to spectators is that this Tour has been adopted. For everyone, it’s a Tour normal!”

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“A successful bet”

“Honestly, it’s unheard of for women’s cycling”confirms Marion Rousse, the director of the Tour de France Women, all smiles. “People have realized that it’s a real Tour, it doesn’t matter if it’s men or women. There are many people at the start and finish, but also along the entire route. And to see children on the side of the roads. coming to encourage the female athletes, or people who dress up and make signs that we are used to seeing on the roads in July, it is a successful bet.

“From a sporting point of view, I wasn’t worried”continues the former cycling champion. “I commentate on women’s cycling all year and they always give us a good show. But you never know about the reception of the public.”

Marion Rousse explains that she put everything in place with the organizer ASO to make it a real trip. “It paid off: we left the caravan two hours before the riders, the media communicated well and people want to see cycling. And it doesn’t matter if it’s men or women, we’re here to support athletes…”

Marie, 87, and the other residents of the Florimont care home in Ingersheim came out onto the pavement to cheer on the runners. © Radio France
Bastien Munch

A future longer edition?

And yet, posted on a sidewalk in the center of Ingersheim, Nathalie still has regrets a less valued race according to her. “We talk less about it compared to the men’s Tour de France”she regrets. “For example, if we watch the broadcast on TV, in the men’s room we are introduced to the castles, the region… So far I haven’t seen anything there.”

But this return of the Women’s Tour de France nevertheless makes Richard, stationed at the start in Sélestat, want to see the women’s event develop in the future, to lasts as long as the men’s Tour de France. “It would be nice if we could have a tour that goes through several regions”describes the young Alsatian from Andlau. “The women are happy to see that there are people. So three more weeks would be great for them!” Especially since the runners are after many spectators much more affordable to the public than their male counterparts.

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