show, public, sexism… What we like and don’t like

The world of sport has been waiting for this for a long time (too long). The women’s Tour de France, the first with this name, was a resounding success on all fronts. While a women’s Grande Boucle worthy of the name has not happened since 1989, the riders will be able to smile at the end of the last stage, Sunday July 31, although there are still some points to improve. Franceinfo: sport has stock.

We love…

The first Women’s Tour de France, ASO version (Amaury sport organization) started with Parisian frenzy, from Trocadéro to Champs-Elysées. If there are some holes in the path (like men), the public is there. The caravaneers, runners, journalists or organizers: they all explained that they did not expect to see so many people on the side of the roads. This popular success, supported by the TV audience, proves the obvious: the popularity of the Tour and of cycling has no gender.

If women’s cycling has become more professional, it hasn’t gotten rid of all the bad habits of the men’s peloton. Where access to runners is locked, more so since the health crisis, the women’s teams open their doors throughout the week, at the start and after, making it possible to exchange with anyone that runner A detail that symbolizes the enthusiasm and innovation of a functional peloton. Hope it lasts.

When the Tour de France 2022 women’s route was unveiled, we expected to be surprised. We were not disappointed. Even the supposedly less spectacular stage, between Meaux and Provins, has its share of (unpleasant) surprises at the waterfalls. For others, between the fireworks of Paris, the effervescent Champagne stages of the Mutigny beach then the white trails, or even the great mountain stages of the Vosges, every day is alive.

We also owe it to the favorites who hold their rank, especially the Dutch trio consisting of Lorena Wiebes, Marianne Vos, and Annemiek van Vleuten. More unrestrained in its teams reduced to six, women’s cycling showed its best face, that of a restless peloton, leading the races with a beating drum.

Marianne Vos in the sprint against Marta Bastianelli and Lotte Kopecky during the 6th stage of the Tour de France women, July 29, 2022. (JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

We don’t really like:

With only eight stages and a Dutch hegemony, we know it will be complicated for the French riders. And no one can blame them. But a Tour de France without a tricolor victory is like cheesecake without coulis: delicious, but it lacks the best. We can console ourselves by remembering that Cecilie Ludwig, winner of Epernay, is Danish, but that she races for FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope. Or by looking at Juliette Labous’ excellent last place in general. It’s not for this time, but it will be soon.

On social networks or on the side of the road, ridicule erupted after some impressive falls that happened to the women of the Tour de France. We also don’t forget the recurring questions about peeing or opening jerseys that reveal the shapes of the runners. If the public is a large majority won by the show, a sexist minority still make a lot of noise.

Of course, for its first edition, the version of the Women’s Tour de France ASO is sometimes confused from the point of view of the organization. Never knowing what to expect, a factor to keep in mind when analyzing race week. However, if it is highly valued to see the public in direct contact with the riders in the paddock or in the finish, it makes more sense to introduce the same health rules for people as for teams, to protect the runner.

These athletes do not yet have the same privileges as men, especially when it comes to joining the departure city the next day. Therefore, there is no police escort for the women, who are often stuck in traffic jams, a problem that seems unthinkable to the male peloton. But these small details can be easily solved, and seem very light compared to all the work done by the Tour teams.

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