Otley’s Lizzie Armitstead, who is competing in the Women’s Tour of Qatar which started today, is among those who have welcomed the introduction of a women’s race on the final day of this summer’s Tour de France.
After finishing training, the Olympic silver medallist tweeted: “Just got off the track to the news there will be a women’s race on the Champs Elysees same day as the men’s! Book your tickets to Paris.”
The women’s race in the French capital has been welcomed as “groundbreaking” by the female riders who have campaigned for its inclusion.
Tour organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) have been under pressure to introduce a women’s race, with 95,000 online signatures generated following the launch of Le Tour Entier’s petition, and have relented.
‘La Course by Le Tour de France’ will take place on July 27 on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, where the 101st edition of the men’s 21-stage race will finish that evening.
Further details will be revealed in due course, but LTE said: “The event is destined to become an iconic race in the women’s calendar.”
Holland’s Olympic and world road champion Marianne Vos, one of LTE’s founders who denied Armitstead gold in the 2012 London Games, said: “This announcement marks a significant and groundbreaking moment for our sport.
“Le Tour is the pinnacle of professional cycling and this race is the start of an exciting new time for women’s cycling.
“To know that ASO are so committed to innovating and developing our sport is fantastic.
“I have no doubt that this race will help change the face of women’s cycling.”
Briton Emma Pooley, who is part of the UCI women’s commission to improve women’s cycling, added: “It’s fantastic that ASO have recognised the demand and potential for a fantastic race and are leading the way in a new era of growth in women’s road racing.”
Armitstead (Boel Dolmans) was fourth in the opening stage in Qatar - a 97-kilometre course from the Museum of Islamic Art to Mesaieed - and is 14 seconds behind leader Kirsten Wild.