The “Tour de France Femmes” aims to become a staple of the women’s cycling calendar around the world after several unsuccessful attempts in the past.
The route and duration of the race were not immediately disclosed, but a video accompanying the launch indicates that the runners will “tackle the toughest course” and “challenge the most iconic climbs”.
Its start is scheduled for July 24, 2022.
“This is a great moment for professional women’s cycling,” said Anna van der Breggen, a rider with the UCI Women’s WorldTeam SD Worx, in a statement.
“The Tour de France is cycling’s most famous race,” she continued, “and it has long been a dream for many of us to participate in a women’s Tour de France. I hope the race will help us develop our sport even further by providing us with a media platform to convey the excitement of women’s cycling to new audiences.
Tour de France organizer Christian Prudhomme revealed earlier this year the likelihood of the race for 2022.
A women’s Tour stage race was held from 1984 to 1989, alongside the men’s race before being subsequently shortened. Various other versions were tried, but they were generally underfunded.
Zwift online fitness platform has signed a four-year sponsorship. Tour de France owner Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) and Zwift worked together last year to organize a virtual edition of the race.
“I really believe the women’s peloton has some of the most exciting bike races to watch and deserves a much bigger platform to show off those talents and skills,” said Eric Min, Managing Director of Zwift.
Female cyclists have spent years clamoring for a female version of the race. They’ve set up petitions, and some have even rode through every stage of the men’s race just to raise awareness.
ASO is currently running La Course, an elite women’s race – usually one day – which takes place in Paris coinciding with the Tour.
The Tour de France begins on June 26 in Brest.