Pressure to include female cyclists in the Tour de France began to pay off yesterday when the company behind the race said it would stage a one-day event for women on the last stage of the Tour.
Campaigners hailed the announcement by the fixture's organiser, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), as "significant and groundbreaking". This summer, La Course by Le Tour de France will take place on 27 July on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, where the 101st outing of the men's race concludes later that evening.
For months Le Tour Entier (LTE), a group of female riders, has been working with ASO on plans for a women's race at the Tour de France, beginning this year. An LTE campaign attracted 95,000 online signatures, and the LTE co-founder and four-time World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington said the news was "a dream come true".
She added: "[This] marks the beginning of an exciting new future for women's cycling and women's sport more generally.
"Female athletes need high profile stages on which to compete, with the associated media coverage and sponsorship, to truly enable them to shine."