The route of the first women’s Tour de France was unveiled on Thursday in eight stages, with a start from the Eiffel Tower on July 24.
The first full edition of the women’s version of cycling’s iconic race begins on the day the 109th edition of the men’s Tour ends.
After a course that winds through the north of France, the race culminates with the ascent of the Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges.
Race director Marion Rousse, a former French cycling champion and now a TV commentator, told AFP it would be a varied course that would keep the suspense going for the eight days.
“It’s sportingly consistent, and we wanted to start from Paris,” she said of the 1,029km race.
“With only eight stages, we couldn’t go down to the Alps or the Pyrenees, the transfers would take too long.
“The stages are obviously shorter for women than for men. Men can run 225 kilometers. For girls, the longest race on our list is 175 km and we even needed a special dispensation for that “, she said. “But it’s a class that I love.”
Christian Prudhomme, the president of the Tour de France organizers, was equally enthusiastic.
“The fact that he leaves Paris on the day the men’s race ends gives a boost to the new race as it allows the media to follow it more easily.
“It also means that with the Tour de France starting on July 1 and the women’s race ending on July 31, there will be cycling on TV every day of July.”
The men’s race is broadcast in approximately 190 countries.