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Campaigners publish women’s Tour manifesto

Document renews calls for event to return to calendar next year, writes Greg Leedham

Campaigners renewed calls today for the return of the women’s Tour de France, an event that was last held in 2009.

Le Tour Entier — which means The Whole Tour — released their manifesto, which calls for the event to be run alongside the men’s race from next year.

Over 93,000 people have signed a petition launched by the group, which is led by cyclist and writer Kathryn Bertine, World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington, and cyclists Marianne Vos and Emma Pooley.

“We must revamp the entire structure of women’s cycling,” Bertine said.

The manifesto, which has been sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation, also calls for three women’s tours to be established, as well as the abolition of race and stage length restrictions for women.

Bertine believes that the progression of women’s cycling could hinge on who wins next month’s battle for the UCI presidency, with Brian Cookson looking to unseat incumbent Pat McQuaid.

Bertine added: “We have to elevate all of women’s cycling so it is sustainable. It’s about having a Tour de Everything, all the opportunities that the men have as well.

“Right now, we need change. We believe that Brian Cookson, in his manifesto, presents an opportunity for women’s cycling to move forward.

“If Pat McQuaid wins, my biggest fear is that nothing will happen.”

Wellington, who is the world’s most successful female triathlete, said: “Global interest in cycling has never been greater, but growth is still hampered by its failure to truly support the women’s side of the sport.

“We feel passionately about playing our part in tackling the status quo and that’s why we launched the petition and now the manifesto, which outlines the reasons why change is needed and offers clear recommendations for action.

“Of course it won’t be easy, but we want everyone to unite behind this shared vision — one that really is a total win-win for all involved.”

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