Women cyclists over the last few decades have been trying to get some parity in the sport by having their own Tour de France which is seen as the biggest cycling event in the world. Women have proven their abilities in other sports and there has to be a demand for such an event. No one expects the same prize money but this is a start heading the right way for now.
Over the last week there was the big announcement that next year we will see the Ladies version of the Tour de France. Granted it is a shorter version lasting only 8 days compared to the 21 of the men but it is a step in the right direction.
This is in fact the second time that the women's race is being kick started as the first edition only lasted 3 years before being renamed and canned in 2009. The reality is the race needs to make money and not be a cost to the organisers so there are some differences this time around.
I don't know who the bright spark was the first time around as the race had no chance of being profitable without television revenue. When the television right were negotiated the women's race was not included and thus had no chance of delivering a profit. This time around the 8 day race will have the backing of television revenue and is a positive as surely this time around there has to be some form of profit.
I do believe that women's cycling has received a rough deal up until now and this should have received the backing and support from the various cycling bodies. If you give something a chance with financial backing over time it will become self supporting. The first time if it had the television backing the womens Tour De France would have succeeded and it would be well established by now.
Zwift will be the title sponsor which kind of makes sense as this could attract far more women who would like to get involved using the Zwift app from home. This is one side of cycling that could grow and take off without anyone having to leave their home or gym. The Zwift sponsorship is planned as a 4 year deal with the jersey sponsors such as LCI (yellow) and Leclerc king of the mountains (polka dot) agreeing to support the ladies edition. Many other sponsors are expected to jump in and throw their weight behind the tour over the coming weeks which will make it viable as a money earner for the organisers.
The plan is at the finish of the mens race on the Champs-Élysées next year the crowds will also see the start of the women's race. The womens edition of the tour will only be 8 days, but the thought process is to eventually extend the length depending on the popularity and feedback that is received by the supporters. I do believe the way this is being set up this time that the Women's Tour De France definitely ahs a chance of succeeding.