Tour de France director labels Harriet Harmon's proposal for a women's race as ill-conceived and premature

Christian Prudhomme admits a women's race is important but feels she should have spoken to him rather than write a public letter back with a petition

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has responded to Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman after she made a public proposal for a women’s version of the iconic race, labelling the idea ill-conceived and premature.

Harman had wrote an open letter backed by a 70,000-strong petition to the director last week urging him to look at the possibility of including a women’s event simultaneously with the men’s, beginning with next year’s Grand Depart which will be held in Yorkshire.

Prudhomme’s response came on the day that the International Cycling Union presidential candidate Brian Cookson confirmed he is holding a meeting with the Tour owners ASO to consider staging a women’s race.

He accused Harman of being impractical in her approach, saying it could very well be “impossible” to run a second Tour alongside one that is already stretched to full capacity.

Prudhomme was speaking while on a visit to Yorkshire, and he told the Press Association: "It would have been better for [Harman] to talk to us at the end of one of the stages or after another race. We are not the only organisers of cycling in the world.

"Also, it would have been much easier to talk to us directly instead of a petition and [finding out by] opening your mailbox one morning and you don't know what has happened.

"We are open to everything. Having women's races is very important for sure. [But] the Tour is huge and you cannot have it bigger and bigger and bigger down the road - it is impossible."

The petition was organised by former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Emma Pooley. Who won the Grande Boucle in 2009 – the last time the closest race to a women’s Tour was held.

Cookson appeared positive on the hopes of creating a women’s Tour, and he also announced a five-day international stage to be held next year during the Tour of Britain.

But he also distanced himself from Harmon’s proposal, urging caution over any attempts to “mimic” the men’s Tour by saying: "Women's teams that are bolted onto men's teams is not the only answer.

"What I can do through my role in British Cycling and through the International Cycling Union is try to bring the parties together.

"That's what I'm trying to do at the moment - to get the people who have been organising the petition together with the ASO, with my part of the UCI at the moment, and see what changes we need to make something like that feasible."

Instead, Cookson wants British Cycling to do more to push female competition in the sport, admitting that although they’ve been at the forefront of development in the past, they – and  everyone else – can do more to push it further.

"Cycling, like most sports, has been traditionally male-dominated and I think we have to accept that we have to try a lot harder," added Cookson.

"I would like to see a women's Tour de France. But I think you have to be very cautious about the terms and conditions and distances and so on, and make sure you do something that's deliverable and sustainable rather than something that fails."

Suggested Topics
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

SAP Functional Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £45,000 - £55,000.

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...

Javascript Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

FLEX Developer

£45000 - £65000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, ...

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn