Lorena Wiebes wins the first stage of the first women’s Tour de France in 33 years, sixth in the 119-year history of the Tour

Lorena Wiebes beat a former two-time Olympic champion down the stretch to win the first stage of the women’s Tour de France, which is making a comeback for the first time in 33 years.

Team DSM’s Wiebes of the Netherlands passed Marianne Vos in the final 150 meters of the 82-kilometre (51-mile) course in Paris on Sunday. Vos, also from the Netherlands, won gold in the points race at the 2008 Olympics and in the individual road race in 2012. She placed fifth in the road race at the Tokyo Games in 2020 which took place a year ago.

Wiebes turned pro in 2018 at the age of 18. The photo of the 23-year-old wearing the yellow jersey could become iconic with the return of the women’s series. It’s his 48th career win and 16th of the season.

And no, the baby is not his child. She said it was a friend’s child and they agreed that if Wiebes won stage one, she would bring the child to the podium for that special moment. She said her parents and brother were also there to share in the celebration.

The first stage consisted of 12 circuits of a lap that started at the Eiffel Tower and ended with a line at the Champs-Élysées, which is often described as the “most beautiful avenue in the world”.

“I’m really happy to have finally been able to race on the Champs-Élysées,” Wiebes said after the race.

“As expected, it was a tough race. It’s really special to ride here in Paris and even more special to wear the yellow jersey. I was okay with the pressure because I directly put the most pressure on myself.

There were 144 riders – 24 six-rider teams – who took part in the return of a premier women’s cycling event. Lotte Kopecky, a Belgian cyclist who won the Tour of Flanders, finished third in the first stage. The cyclists left the same day the male winner was crowned.

The Tour de France has excluded women since 1989

Female cyclists pass in front of the Tuileries Garden during the Women’s Tour de France. (Photo by Vincent Koebel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Tour de France is 119 years old, but women only competed five times in total when their tour lasted from 1984 to 1989. American Marianne Martin won the first official women’s Tour de France in 1984 and the race s ran parallel to the men’s races until 1989, when the organizers decided to abandon it.

The women’s races have taken place over the years, but without the official support or sanction of the Tour de France organisers. Vos was one of four women to submit a petition in 2013 to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme asking for women to be allowed to race the Tour de France. They cited the success of women’s road running at the 2012 Olympics in London and the lack of equality within the sport in general.

“While many women’s sports face battles of inequality, road cycling remains one of the worst offenders: fewer racing opportunities, no TV coverage, shorter distances, and therefore inequality of wages and prices,” the petition reads. “We are not looking to race against the men, but to have our own professional peloton in conjunction with the men’s event, at the same time, same distances, same days, with changes in start/finish times to that neither sex or race interferes with the other.”

“La Course by Le Tour de France” took place between 2014 and 2021 in response to the petition, but it was always run as a one- or two-day race. more like “symbolic gestures”.

The COVID-19 pandemic helps form the Tour de France Women

The Tour de France Women with Zwift (the full official name) is an eight-day, 640-mile stage race that includes two mountain stages. It will end on July 31 in the east of France at La Super Planche des Belles Filles.

The implementation of the race is the result of the shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on cycling. Zwift, “a fitness company born out of gaming,” held virtual races around the world during the shutdown with separate races for men and women. It also held a virtual Tour de France in July with the official men’s race postponed to August. Women were allowed to participate in their own race.

Zwift said more than 16 million people in more than 130 countries have seen the virtual races on television and digital platforms, per NPR. That audience was evenly split between the events, he said.

And so Zwift helped launch the Tour de France Women with the help of Tour de France organizers who now saw the potential in women’s cycling, per NPR. Zwift has signed on for a four-year sponsorship.

“For women to get on stage, to be lifted up through that platform that they deserve, is really the key to unlocking a lot more viewership, investment and growth in sport at all levels,” said said Kate Veronneau, director of women’s strategy at Zwift. and a former pro-cyclist, told the Washington Post. “For little girls growing up and seeing themselves in a variety of sports…it’s powerful.”

It will be one of the highest purses in women’s cycling history at around 250,000 euros (about $255,000).

About Walter J. Leslie

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