Tour de France: No Women Ever?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Elisa Francesca, Jul 8, 2003.

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  1. Watching all those gorgeous hunks on the TV a few nights ago for the Centennary Start-Off of the
    Tour de France, I was bemused by the realization that I had never heard of a female participant in
    this famous race.

    Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why? I would
    have thought that cycling was a particularly gender-egalitarian sport: there's nothing about it
    that's visibly macho, either iconographically or anatomically. And ambitious sportswomen have made a
    point of infiltrating all the "bastion sports" to compete with men - one thinks of some of those
    sinewy tennis-women or those America Cup captainesses. On a media-and-advertizing level, I recently
    heard that women's events, or events including women, draw as

    championesses. And I would have thought that the Tour was most assimilable to a Marathon Run,
    where female participants start off with the men and where you often have a first male and a first
    female finisher.

    My mind flashes back to a feature I saw in last month's WIRED magazine, about cool new products.
    There was a vignette on a racing-bike that had only just been issued in a version designed for
    women. The author reflected on a vicious circle whereby there was no "market" for women's
    competitive cycling and so no bicycles were being made for female contestants. Could that be all?

    Not that I'm getting any smarmy ideas.... %°>

    Elisa Roselli Paris, France
     
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  2. Pat

    Pat Guest

    x-no-archive:yes

    > Watching all those gorgeous hunks on the TV a few nights ago for the Centennary Start-Off of the
    > Tour de France, I was bemused by the realization that I had never heard of a female participant in
    > this famous race.
    >
    > Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why? I
    > would have thought that cycling was a particularly gender-egalitarian sport: there's nothing about
    > it that's visibly macho, either iconographically or anatomically. And ambitious sportswomen have
    > made a point of infiltrating all the "bastion sports" to compete with men - one thinks of some of
    > those sinewy tennis-women or those America Cup captainesses. On a media-and-advertizing level, I
    > recently heard that women's events, or events including women, draw as

    > championesses. And I would have thought that the Tour was most assimilable to a Marathon Run,
    > where female participants start off with the men and where you often have a first male and a first
    > female finisher.
    >
    > My mind flashes back to a feature I saw in last month's WIRED magazine, about cool new products.
    > There was a vignette on a racing-bike that had only just been issued in a version designed for
    > women. The author reflected on a vicious circle whereby there was no "market" for women's
    > competitive cycling and so no bicycles were being made for female contestants. Could that be all?
    >
    > Not that I'm getting any smarmy ideas.... %°>
    >
    > Elisa Roselli Paris, France

    Elsa, in English, the words such as 'champion' and 'captain' do not take on a gender-specific
    ending. In fact, English itself does not have gender-endings for words, and where we see them, it is
    because those words have been "swallowed" whole from other languages (such as equestrienne).

    Why do women "infiltrate" all the "bastion sports"? M_O_N_E_Y. It's all about money. Women are all
    in the mountain bike contests, so it's just a matter of time until we see road racing with women
    competitors.

    Pat in TX
     
  3. Drew Cutter

    Drew Cutter Guest

    Their use to be a female version of the Tour . Not sure how long ago. I'm not aware of any
    significant number of women who can compete in the road , mountain stages and time trials at the
    same level as men. I disagree on the anatomically part. Sprinters and time trialist require huge
    upper leg muscle (not too good for the mountains). Women sports are not drawing the sponsor and tv
    coverage that people once thought. (basketball , soccer comes to mind). Mountain biking might be the
    only area that women might compete. Eco-challenge is another area that women are able to compete at
    the same level.
     
  4. Giganews

    Giganews Guest

    I was involved over the years with road racing as a rider (long ago) and an official (not so long
    ago). No woman in the U.S. has competed successfully (as in win) in the same category as the men -
    which is the reason that if there are no women's races in an event, they are allowed to participate
    at a lower/older category than their rating. A fair number of better female USCF riders ride in the
    equivalent men's events off and on, but it is far more often for training than a real attempt to
    win, and its usually when the second entry fee is significantly less than the first (i.e. they pay $
    35 to race in the women's event for prize money, then another $ 20 to train for a few laps against
    the men in competitive conditions). A simple and real fact is that most female riders that have
    started a men's event where I was an official did not finish and never intended to finish - but they
    got some real training in accelerating out of every corner every lap...

    Beryl Burton in her prime arguably rode as an equal with most men in her time trial categories, but
    that isn't the same as on the track or in a mass start race. She also arguably was the greatest
    female cyclist in history (a lot of Brits would strike the 'arguably').

    The reason that you will not see a woman in the Tour de France in our lifetime is that any woman at
    that athletic level could make a larger fortune dominating a woman's sport with money than being a
    domestique on the Tour. To pretend otherwise is to put political correctness above reality.

    --
    Curtis L. Russell Odenton, MD (USA) Just someone on two wheels...

    "Drew Cutter" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Their use to be a female version of the Tour . Not sure how long ago. I'm not aware of any
    > significant number of women who can compete in the road , mountain stages and time trials at the
    > same level as men. I disagree on the anatomically part. Sprinters and time trialist require huge
    > upper leg muscle (not too good for the mountains). Women sports are not drawing the sponsor and tv
    > coverage that people once thought. (basketball , soccer comes to mind). Mountain biking might be
    > the only area that women might compete. Eco-challenge is another area that women are able to
    > compete at the same level.
     
  5. Ken

    Ken Guest

    Drew Cutter <[email protected]> wrote in news:3F0ABCE4.1090107 @attglobal.net:

    > Their use to be a female version of the Tour

    The women's Tour had fewer stages and shorter distances. There was a feeling then that women
    couldn't handle the same difficulty level as men. Some women disagreed.
     
  6. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...
    > Watching all those gorgeous hunks on the TV a few nights ago for the Centennary Start-Off of the
    > Tour de France, I was bemused by the realization that I had never heard of a female participant in
    > this famous race.
    >
    > Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why? I
    > would have thought that cycling was a particularly gender-egalitarian sport: there's nothing about
    > it that's visibly macho, either iconographically or anatomically. And ambitious sportswomen have
    > made a point of infiltrating all the "bastion sports" to compete with men - one thinks of some of
    > those sinewy tennis-women or those America Cup captainesses. On a media-and-advertizing level, I
    > recently heard that women's events, or events including women, draw as

    > championesses. And I would have thought that the Tour was most assimilable to a Marathon Run,
    > where female participants start off with the men and where you often have a first male and a first
    > female finisher.

    Because of the strength and speed required, the women would be unlikely to be able to complete
    AGAINST the men, but there's no reason they couldn't run women's and men's events at the same time.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  7. Curtis Russell says:

    > Beryl Burton in her prime arguably rode as an equal with most men in her time trial categories,
    > but that isn't the same as on the track or in a mass start race. She also arguably was the
    > greatest female cyclist in history (a lot of Brits would strike the 'arguably').

    Greetings from London.

    Yes, strike "arguably"

    In 1986 Audax UK changed from an annual men's award and women's award to

    That was because Shiela Simpson so obviously deserved top award. Liz

    times.

    But as Curtis says, that is not the same as competing in the Tour de France.

    Jeremy Parker
     
  8. In article <[email protected]>, Elisa Francesca Roselli
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Watching all those gorgeous hunks on the TV a few nights ago for the Centennary Start-Off of the
    >Tour de France, I was bemused by the realization that I had never heard of a female participant in
    >this famous race.

    No, not in the men's race as far as I know.

    Try these sites for more on womens' racing in France:

    http://www.velo-feminin.com/ http://www.jeannielongo.com/
     
  9. "Elisa Francesca Roselli" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Watching all those gorgeous hunks on the TV a few nights ago for the Centennary Start-Off of the
    > Tour de France, I was bemused by the realization that I had never heard of a female participant in
    > this famous race.
    >
    > Is it true that the race has never included women?

    The Tour De Femmes started around 1983 I believe. Longo won it, Van Moorsel won it, to name a few
    great women. It's on track to be held again this year. Tour De France for women is around 1100 miles
    and 11 stages long.

    and if so, does
    > anyone have any idea why? I would have thought that cycling was a particularly
    > gender-egalitarian sport:

    Women racing today is on the rise. For instance in the Snelling Road race, the women set a new
    record for more riders that outnumbered the mens field. The womens pool is getting deeper and the
    number of Top Pro women have increased worldwide.

    there's nothing about it that's
    > visibly macho, either iconographically or anatomically. And ambitious sportswomen have made a
    > point of infiltrating all the "bastion sports" to compete with men - one thinks of some of those
    > sinewy tennis-women or those America Cup captainesses.

    They are doing well in cycling too, but there is not enough money being pumped into womens cycling
    for the media to really pick up on it. Perhaps if a top movie star like Halle Barry was also a Top
    Pro cyclist then that would be a big shot in the arm in the way of media exposure. The women need a
    spokesman. Right now no women races are shown on TV, except bits and pieces, and no top Pro womens
    races from Europe are on TV either. There are no womens cycling magazines and there are no races on
    video. Consider WCP who sells tons of Pro cycling videos of all the big races in Europe. They do not
    sell one single womens Top Pro race video. That's how bad the state of affairs are in womens
    cycling. If some billionaire would pump massive amounts of cash into the right races then yes, then
    comes media, magazines and videos. Right now it's pretty much a blackout on media coverage so fans
    can't get interested. The bad news is for women is that fans will probably always be more interested
    in the mens races since men are faster.

    On a media-and-advertizing level, I
    > recently heard that women's events, or events including women, draw as

    > championesses.

    Not in cycling. Most Top Pro races in Europe do not have counterparts for women. The Giro and TDF
    do, Amstel Gold and a few others as well, but much fewer races with less fans.

    And I would have thought that the Tour was most
    > assimilable to a Marathon Run, where female participants start off with the men and where you
    > often have a first male and a first female finisher.

    I think it's better to seperate them into two races, the TDF for men and Tour De Femmes for women.
    That way the fans can focus on their stars better. I think adding two much cluster confuses it and
    makes it less interesting. Also, that is just too many riders on the field. Right now they are
    complaining that 200 riders is too many and rightly so since there was a massive crash the other day
    where serious injuries incurred.
    >
    > My mind flashes back to a feature I saw in last month's WIRED magazine, about cool new products.
    > There was a vignette on a racing-bike that had only just been issued in a version designed for
    > women. The author reflected on a vicious circle whereby there was no "market" for women's
    > competitive cycling and so no bicycles were being made for female contestants. Could that be all?

    There are tons of so many different types makes and models, any serious cyclist should take the time
    to do the research and get the best bike that fits you well for the money.

    B-
     
  10. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >Elisa Francesca Roselli

    wrote in part:

    >Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why?

    Yes it's true and the reason is simply that like in many sports men have a genetic advantage. It's
    not chauvinism. It's simply a fact. That's why there are tests for steroids. They aren't looking for
    abnormally high levels of estrogen. ;-) That's not to say that a fit female cyclist can't outride a
    less than fit male. She can but at similiar levels of fitness the male will win almost every time.

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  11. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    "Hunrobe" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >Elisa Francesca Roselli
    >
    > wrote in part:
    >
    > >Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why?
    >
    > Yes it's true and the reason is simply that like in many sports men have a genetic advantage. It's
    > not chauvinism. It's simply a fact. That's why
    there
    > are tests for steroids. They aren't looking for abnormally high levels of estrogen. ;-) That's not
    > to say that a fit female cyclist can't outride a less than fit
    male.
    > She can but at similiar levels of fitness the male will win almost every
    time.
    >

    Hmmm. I wonder. Women are already competitive head-to-head in ultramarathon running events. For
    example, if you'll check the results of last year's Leadville 100 (100 mile trail run in the
    Colorado Rockies), you'll find a woman finished 5th overall. How different are the physical demands
    of an event like that than the TDF? It strikes me that they are pretty similar. How different are
    top bikers bodies from top distance runners?

    Paradoxically, it seems to me that if, physically women cannot yet compete nearly equally in the
    TDF, things could be evened up by making it an even *more* gruelling endurance event. The more an
    event emphasizes maximum endurance and efficiency over peak power, the more likely that top women
    can compete with top men.

    Mark Weaver
     
  12. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "Hunrobe" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >Elisa Francesca Roselli
    >
    > wrote in part:
    >
    > >Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why?
    >
    > Yes it's true and the reason is simply that like in many sports men have a genetic advantage. It's
    > not chauvinism. It's simply a fact. That's why
    there
    > are tests for steroids. They aren't looking for abnormally high levels of estrogen. ;-) That's not
    > to say that a fit female cyclist can't outride a less than fit
    male.
    > She can but at similiar levels of fitness the male will win almost every
    time.

    I suppose that's the same reason the ultra-elite military units are all male. Only a tiny percentage
    of the toughest, most fit men can pass SEAL training, and I would imagine the same is true for the
    Tour. Any woman who could be competitive with the best men in the world would need to be tested for
    steroids ASAP.
     
  13. Jkpoulos7

    Jkpoulos7 Guest

    >Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why?

    Women are not as strong. Even marathons, where no bashing and brute strength is required show men
    finishing significantly faster than women. Women cyclists also cannot compete with world class male
    cyclists. Even golf (hardly a sport) has men doing much better.
     
  14. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Hunrobe" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > >Elisa Francesca Roselli
    > >
    > > wrote in part:
    > >
    > > >Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why?
    > >
    > > Yes it's true and the reason is simply that like in many sports men have
    a
    > > genetic advantage. It's not chauvinism. It's simply a fact. That's why
    > there
    > > are tests for steroids. They aren't looking for abnormally high levels
    of
    > > estrogen. ;-) That's not to say that a fit female cyclist can't outride a less than
    fit
    > male.
    > > She can but at similiar levels of fitness the male will win almost every
    > time.
    > >
    >
    > Hmmm. I wonder. Women are already competitive head-to-head in ultramarathon running events. For
    > example, if you'll check the results of last year's Leadville 100 (100 mile trail run in the
    > Colorado Rockies), you'll find a woman finished 5th overall. How different are the physical
    > demands of an event like that than the TDF? It strikes me that they are pretty similar. How
    > different are top bikers bodies from top distance runners?
    >
    > Paradoxically, it seems to me that if, physically women cannot yet compete nearly equally in the
    > TDF, things could be evened up by making it an even *more* gruelling endurance event. The more an
    > event emphasizes maximum endurance and efficiency over peak power, the more likely that top women
    can
    > compete with top men.
    >
    But it's not just about endurance. It's about power and strength---areas in which men have the
    genetic advantage. I don't think any women are going to outsprint McEwen. Nor do I think many women
    are going to beat Lance or Virenque to the top of Alpe d'Huez. I would be interested to see what the
    men's and women's times for the RAAM were. That's a true endurance event, I guess.
     
  15. In article <[email protected]>,
    "GIGANews" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Beryl Burton in her prime arguably rode as an equal with most men in her time trial categories,
    > but that isn't the same as on the track or in a mass start race. She also arguably was the
    > greatest female cyclist in history (a lot of Brits would strike the 'arguably').

    > The reason that you will not see a woman in the Tour de France in our lifetime is that any woman
    > at that athletic level could make a larger fortune dominating a woman's sport with money than
    > being a domestique on the Tour. To pretend otherwise is to put political correctness above
    > reality.

    That's one way to put it. Another way is that the world has probably not yet seen a woman at the
    athletic level to compete in the TdF.

    This isn't meant as a knock on the numerous excellent female cyclists: the best of them might be
    able to trail along somewhere near the back of the pack for several stages, which is far more than
    most male cyclists could do. But the Tour's demands for huge endurance to survive the event, massive
    power to do well in the TTs, and more massive power combined with minimum weight to do well in the
    mountains does not favour women.

    Among male cyclists, the Tour only takes 200, and it's a fair bet that even the worst domestique on
    FDJeux is one of the 1000 best riders in the world, and probably more like top 300. All of the
    great GC riders in the world are at the tour (Cipo is good, but he's no GC rider, and I don't see
    giving a tour spot to a guy who has repeatedly ridden the tour only until it pointed uphill), and
    even so most of them don't have a hope of winning this event, and of the rest, 2 (Lance and your
    pick of the others) have a straight chance of victory, and probably 3 others will have a shot if
    the favourites falter.

    Venus and Serena Williams once made a foolhardy boast about being better than any tennis player
    outside of the top 200 men. A guy ranked about 211 in the world then went out and demolished them
    one after the other in a pair of exhibition sets. I think the final scores were about 6-1 and 6-3 or
    so, and he flaunted the fact that he had taken a fairly relaxed approach to the event. This rule of
    thumb seems to hold in most sports: you can generally expect the best women to be about as good as
    the 200th-best men, better in finesse sports, worse in physical sports.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  16. F. Golightly

    F. Golightly Guest

    "Jkpoulos7" <[email protected]>
    > Even golf (hardly a sport) has men doing much better.

    Ever competed at golf? Ever entered any state or regional championships? Ever try to qualify for the
    PGA tour? Ever taken someone on... "one on one" ...in a 36 hole final?

    Huh?

    Mr. Jones's eyes are rolling in his grave.
     
  17. "F. Golightly" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > Ever try to qualify for the PGA tour? Ever taken someone on... "one on one" ...in a 36 hole final?

    The only 36 in golf is the size of those fattie's stomach.

    Any fatty can play golf.
     
  18. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "F. Golightly" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Jkpoulos7" <[email protected]>
    > > Even golf (hardly a sport) has men doing much better.
    >
    > Ever competed at golf? Ever entered any state or regional championships? Ever try to qualify for
    > the PGA tour? Ever taken someone on... "one on
    one"
    > ...in a 36 hole final?
    >
    > Huh?
    >
    Golf is a game, not a sport. I'm not saying it's not difficult, but so is bowling. Not a sport.
    What's the old definition----if you can drink beer while doing it, it's not a sport. :)
     
  19. Kevan Smith

    Kevan Smith Guest

    On Tue, 08 Jul 2003 23:18:54 GMT, "Slider2699" <[email protected]> from RoadRunner - Tampa
    Bay wrote:

    >Only a tiny percentage of the toughest, most fit men can pass SEAL training, and I would imagine
    >the same is true for the Tour. Any woman who could be competitive with the best men in the world
    >would need to be tested for steroids ASAP.

    With the SEALS (and any special forces), the physical training is very tough. But that's not what
    weeds people out. It's the mental part that does it. I think women are just as strong mentally as
    men in terms of handling pain and abuse.

    --
    http://home.sport.rr.com/cuthulu/ human rights = peace A shapely CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRL is FIDGETING
    inside my costume..
    7:44:16 PM 8 July 2003
     
  20. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] corvusdev.com says...
    >
    > "Hunrobe" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > >Elisa Francesca Roselli
    > >
    > > wrote in part:
    > >
    > > >Is it true that the race has never included women? and if so, does anyone have any idea why?
    > >
    > > Yes it's true and the reason is simply that like in many sports men have a genetic advantage.
    > > It's not chauvinism. It's simply a fact. That's why
    > there
    > > are tests for steroids. They aren't looking for abnormally high levels of estrogen. ;-) That's
    > > not to say that a fit female cyclist can't outride a less than fit
    > male.
    > > She can but at similiar levels of fitness the male will win almost every
    > time.
    > >
    >
    > Hmmm. I wonder. Women are already competitive head-to-head in ultramarathon running events. For
    > example, if you'll check the results of last year's Leadville 100 (100 mile trail run in the
    > Colorado Rockies), you'll find a woman finished 5th overall. How different are the physical
    > demands of an event like that than the TDF? It strikes me that they are pretty similar. How
    > different are top bikers bodies from top distance runners?

    The TdF is more like a marathon than it is a 100 mile race, and the top women typically run about
    15% to 20% slower than the men in races of marathon length and below.

    > Paradoxically, it seems to me that if, physically women cannot yet compete nearly equally in the
    > TDF, things could be evened up by making it an even *more* gruelling endurance event. The more an
    > event emphasizes maximum endurance and efficiency over peak power, the more likely that top women
    > can compete with top men.

    True, but since most of the TdF races come down to a sprint or a climb, I don't think it's going to
    be reasonably possible to eliminate the advantage a well-trained man has from his greater percentage
    of muscle mass.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
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