Ahead of this month’s historic La Course by Le Tour de France, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is joining forces with key partners including Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and UCI Women Road World Cup sponsor The Sufferfest, to launch the Women’s Cycling Week (WCW), from 20 to 27 July. The goal of the WCW is to grow the profile of women’s cycling at every level via a series of events that will take place throughout the month of July to get more girls and women riding.
The WCW will include the following events:
- Ride to Paris: A group of 25 amateur women cyclists from across the world will ride from Utrecht in Holland to Paris in just four days, arriving on 26 July the day before La Course by le Tour de France. Along the way they will be sharing their experiences on UCI website and social media;
- Female elite riders will be setting the pace for women participants in the mass participation event L’Etape du Tour on July 20. In addition, every female rider registered to ride in L’Etape du Tour will receive a free ‘La Course by Le Tour de France’ branded cycling jersey from the UCI (www.letapedutour.com);
- Leading cycling training video company The Sufferfest has created a new training film - Halfiseasy - that contains content from women’s competitions which will be shown in gyms worldwide ();
- Women riders from all over the world are invited to share their cycling experiences and show how they have pushed their boundaries via social media using the hashtags #owntheroad, #ownthetrail, #ownthejumps, #ownthetrack. Best tweets will be shared on @UCI_cycling and @UCIWomenCycling;
- UCI President Brian Cookson will present medals to La Course by le Tour de France podium finishers.
UCI President Brian Cookson said:
“We are entering an historic moment for women’s cycling with La Course by Le Tour de France on July 27 which will attract a level of media focus and attention on women’s cycling never before seen in the history of the sport. It is critically important that as a sport we embrace this unique opportunity to further shine the light on women’s cycling, and get more girls and women riding bikes. This is exactly what the WCW is seeking to achieve.
“Since I became UCI President nine months ago, we have made unprecedented investment in the funding of broadcast packages around the UCI Women Road World Cup. This followed the appointment of Tracey Gaudry as the UCI’s first Women Vice-president, and the establishment of the UCI’s first Women’s Commission. While we still have much to do, I believe that 2014 will be remembered as a breakout year for women’s cycling.”
UCI Vice-president Tracey Gaudry stated:
“The UCI is determined to maximise recognition of women in cycling as a sport and for participation. We are not alone with this ambition and have embraced that the rise of women’s cycling must involve everybody. There’s enormous diversity on the Women’s Commission with leaders representing women’s teams, sponsors, events, media, coaches and athletes. We'll be finalising our strategy at our next meeting in a couple of weeks in Paris, in conjunction with La Course by Le Tour de France.
“Our priorities can be achieved by working with, and supporting the initiatives of cycling stakeholders – such as La Course by le Tour de France by ASO. This outstanding event will showcase the strength, thrill and drama of women’s cycling to millions of viewers worldwide.”
Dutch champion Marianne Vos reacted:
“The sport has grown in the last few years and it is great to celebrate the achievement of women's cycling. During this dedicated week, I especially look forward to La Course and meeting the girls riding #RoadtripParis on the Champ Elysees.
My dream is to make cycling more accessible to women. I want to take the best from both men’s and women’s cycling and use this to create a stage from which the dreams of every aspiring cyclist can be launched, whether they are young, old, fellow professionals or future talents.”