The organizers of the Tour de France announced their willingness to discuss running a women's event alongside the men's race on Monday. Race executives have debated the proposal after a petition backed by Olympic road race gold medalist Marianne Vos gained more than 65,000 signatures in 11 days.
“We need to work out the right economic model, get the media on board and discuss with public authorities about closing the roads,” Jean-Etienne Amaury, chairman of the race organization, told Bloomberg. “All these parameters need to be planned. It’s not likely to happen next year.”
The petitioners, including cyclist Emma Pooley and triathlete Chrissie Wellington, would like to have the women's race run alongside the men's edition to capitalize on the latter's media presence.
Between 1984 and 1989, the Tour organizers hosted a parallel event for women. The race used the same finishes as the men, with shorter stages and additional rest days. The race folded after it failed to garner a "strong following or interest from television," Amaury said.