The Daily Telegraph - Business

Read­ers’ let­ters

- Grande Boucle rosa. Cycling Weekly La maglia Sports · Women's Rights · Bicycles · Bicycle Racing · Tour De France · Human Rights · Society · Outdoor Hobbies · Hobbies · Buckingham Palace · Buckingham Palace · France · Mitchelton-Scott

Please send us your views on sport and our cov­er­age to the Sports Edi­tor, The Daily Tele­graph, 111 Buck­ing­ham Palace Rd, SWIW 0DT. Or email sportlet­ters@ tele­graph.co.uk. Please in­clude your postal ad­dress. We will pub­lish the best each week. month. All of this comes de­spite the ef­forts of those such as the In­ter­na­tionElles, an in­ter­na­tional group of am­a­teur women cy­clists who have rid­den each stage of the Tour de France be­fore the men since three women first did so in 2015. In­tro­duc­ing longer races for women is just one of the group’s many aims in its fight to ad­dress in­equal­ity in pro cycling.

A stark ex­am­ple is the Giro Rosa which, de­spite be­ing the big­gest event of the women’s cycling cal­en­dar and the most fe­ro­ciously con­tested event, is still not broad­cast live.

Since the UCI took over the race in 2016, or­gan­is­ers have been hell-bent on co­in­cid­ing it with the Tour de France.

That to­day’s long stage tal­lies with the se­cond rest day of

un­der­lines just how much of a missed op­por­tu­nity this is. To­day’s stage will nev­er­the­less of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent to what elite fe­male rid­ers have ex­pe­ri­enced in their pro ca­reers.

Depend­ing on its en­ter­tain­ment value, it could even open the door for longer races in the women’s pelo­ton, a move which would pla­cate those like Van Vleuten who, at 37, has ex­celled at greater dis­tances in her later years.

The Mitchel­ton-Scott rider did not dis­ap­point on stage two of the Giro on Satur­day, when she was forced to run up the fi­nal gravel climb in or­der to main­tain an­other solo lead be­fore tak­ing the

Com­pare that to this year’s stage five of the Tour de France, which was branded “bor­ing” by

due to the rid­ers’ re­luc­tance to form a break­away through­out the race.

Just as we are of­fered a glimpse into what could be a turn­ing point for women’s cycling, there is an over­whelm­ing sense that longer stages will likely be a one-off.

The dis­tances of non-time trial stages in the Tour de France have pro­gres­sively short­ened over the past 20 years, the idea be­ing that shorter stages cre­ate punchier, more ag­gres­sive rac­ing, which car­ries greater en­ter­tain­ment value. Amid grow­ing spec­u­la­tion that a Women’s Tour de France will be launched in 2022, would women’s cy­clists be re­signed to shorter dis­tances be­fore they have a real chance to prove them­selves?

Longer might not al­ways mean bet­ter. But the in­clu­sion of dis­tances which ex­ceed the 160km limit for fe­male rid­ers cer­tainly chal­lenges back­dated per­cep­tions to­wards them.

And as Ut­trup Lud­wig rightly points out, women’s wombs will fare just fine.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK