They’ll cover the distance and altitude of this year’s Tour de France in just one week


L’InternationElles – a group of female cyclists who in recent years have traveled the entire Tour de France route with a day ahead of the men to campaign for gender equality in cycling and a female version of the event – this year will cover the distance and elevation of the three-week Grand Tour, all without leaving the UK.That’s no small feat, given that this year’s race, which is due to start in Nice on Saturday, has an unprecedented amount of escalation – which the Internation aims to address largely in Everesting the ascent of the Bwlch in South Wales.

They plan to cover 3,470 km over four days in a non-stop relay, starting at the same time as the Tour de France itself on Saturday.

Then, on Friday, September 4, the plan is to climb Everest – that is, to climb a height of 8,848 meters, which is equivalent to the altitude of the highest mountain in the world – in one only day on the Bwlch.

With 339 meters of vertical drop at an average vertical drop of 5%, this means that the runners, who will be individually challenged for this challenge and not part of a relay, will have to face the climb 26 times.

Drawing their membership through the UK, the Netherlands, the US and Australia, the Internationers are unable to follow the Tour de France route itself this year due to restrictions on travel related to coronavirus.

Marlow, Buckinghamshire Lou Gibson, InternationElles member who works as World Events Officer, said: “We were absolutely gutted when we realized that, despite our best efforts, we were not going to be able to travel the road before men in France this year.

“But we are a determined group and have worked tirelessly with our partners to find a way to both make our challenge even more difficult, keep the campaign alive and make our voices heard.”

The relay portion of the challenge will be undertaken separately on static bikes – the five UK members do this from a base in South Wales – from Saturday August 29th with arrival scheduled for Wednesday September 2nd to allow for a day out of rust before Everesting. attempt.

Here are the top 10 areas of inequality they aim to highlight to inspire sport stakeholders to tackle:

Narrowing the pay gap in professional cycling – many female team riders still have to have jobs to pay their way and the Women’s Tour is the only race that offers financial parity. Minimum wage and paid maternity leave to be introduced as a first measure.

Address the lack of sponsorship – there are a lot less female teams, the teams are smaller, so there are a lot less opportunities. 3. Increase the number of races reserved for women – both professional and amateur. Each men’s professional race must have a female equivalent, starting with the Tour de France.

Introducing longer female runs – there seems to be a misconception about what women are capable of.

Increase media coverage – more televised races, more cycling media coverage.

Greater support from the federation (both national and international) – more women in positions of power.

Greater accessibility to the sport at the grassroots level – greater visibility of how to get started.

Eradication of sexism in sport – being told by teams to look pretty and put the body to shame.

Make more women-specific running and training data available. 10. Correct the gender balance in the design of bicycles, eg bicycles sold with male saddles as standard.

Their efforts are supported by Skoda and multiple Paralympic Champion Dame Sarah Storey, Automotive Brand Ambassador, said: “The InternationElles are a collection of talented amateur riders who all work full time alongside extraordinary achievements on their motorcycles.

“The absence of a women’s Tour de France has been a symbol of the gap that exists between the opportunities of men and women in cycling and I have been delighted to work alongside these superb ladies to help make light on this issue.

“The group’s determination to bypass necessary pandemic restrictions on travel and group size is truly inspiring and I give them my full support as they work harder and cry louder this year for the cause they all are passionate about.

The Internation is calling on the global cycling community to support their efforts, including joining their relay, and you can find more information on how to do it here.


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