“Yes, we were dreaming of the Women’s Tour de France, but the reality now is that we have less than two seasons to prepare for it,” said Delcourt. Cyclismenews.“It’s not a game anymore. It’s the dream of our team, and of my life, every day. I think we will need the best team and the best staff to be ready for the first Women’s Tour de France. We will not go there to participate. We will go to the Women’s Tour de France to play for victory, to play for the yellow jersey. This is the goal of my work. ”
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme confirmed last month that Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) will launch a women’s Tour de France in 2022. Shortly thereafter, Zwift announced that he would become the title sponsor of the event which will be held from July 24 to 31 next year, and will start on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on the occasion of the 21st final stage of the Men’s Tour de France.
Delcourt said the new Women’s Tour de France will be a game-changer and has the potential to bring about a massive positive change in the popularity, security and stability of women’s cycling.
“Women’s cycling will not be the same after the first women’s Tour de France. I worked in cycling for 15 years, and now it’s great that we’ve dreamed and pushed a lot for a women’s Tour de France, ”said Delcourt.
“Now we have to prepare our team and our staff on our side, and now we can prepare and secure the future for my riders. It can help my runners to have a normal life. My runners want to buy their own homes and it’s my job to help them do these things, to help our female athletes have normal lives and normal jobs and so that they can secure their own future and their families with a normal salary. The Women’s Tour de France will offer more possibilities to our sports, to my team and to my riders. “
All-in for Uttrup Ludwig to win yellow
Delcourt first signed Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig in 2020 and she has since renewed the squad until 2022. She won her first top-level race at the Vuelta in Burgos this year and was selected to represent Denmark in the Tokyo Olympics.
Delcourt believes that with more development in his role as leader, Uttrup Ludwig could compete in the general classification of the Tour de France Women.
“Cécilie still has two years of contract and I really believe that she can play for the yellow jersey of the Women’s Tour de France,” said Delcourt. “First, she has to win a big Monument, for example Strade Bianche and Flèche Wallonne, these are good races for her. Last year she played for the pink jersey at the Giro Rosa, she didn’t win it, but she tried. “
Delcourt said the team also need to step up their game if they are serious about winning the Women’s Tour de France. He thinks they can compete with the best teams in the world.
“As a team we also need to improve, increase the level of teams like Trek-Segafredo and [SD Worx] who have a lot of experienced riders to win, we need time to build this team. We want to keep building and Cecilie, who is also focused on gaining experience and she is focusing on the Olympics. “
Delcourt said it would be the accomplishment of a lifetime for any rider or team manager to win the Women’s Tour de France.
“To win the first edition of the Women’s Tour de France, you are going to write the history of your sport. We are very motivated to prepare for this, as all the teams will too. I really want to be able to play for victory Imagine a France team winning the yellow jersey, ”he said.
ASO’s renowned men’s Tour de France flourished for a hundred years, but the organization has come under repeated criticism for not offering an official women’s Tour de France since the original stage race was canceled in 1989.
ASO then organized one-day women’s races such as La Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course and the first Paris-Roubaix (in 2021). The women’s peloton had not been part of the official Tour de France for 30 years.
Delcourt said that with the rise of professionalism in women’s cycling and the establishment of top-level teams and events, the sport is ready for a women’s Tour de France.
“Women’s cycling is now ready for a women’s Tour de France. ASO works a lot in women’s cycling, and don’t forget that the organization Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne, Tour de Yorkshire [and La Course], but before now, in my opinion, women’s cycling was not ready for a big, big women’s Tour de France, ”said Delcourt.
“I don’t mean the riders weren’t ready, they can do it, but the teams weren’t ready. We needed to have a lot of teams at a high level, and the women’s teams change a lot now, and we got there. point by point, where teams can be ready for a Tour de France. “
The Course by La Tour de France was created in 2014 following a petition addressed to ASO calling for a women’s Tour de France. The women’s peloton will line up on June 26 in Brest to compete in the eighth, and what could be, the last edition.
Despite its controversy, La Course had become one of the hottest events of the Women’s WorldTour, and although the wait was longer than expected, it ultimately became the stepping stone to the Tour de France Women.
“The future of La Course is the women’s Tour de France – that was the next step. The fans love the one-day race but they are going to really love the Women’s Tour de France, ”said Delcourt.