Many women’s cycling supporters wish there was more media coverage out there. What are your thoughts on how to develop that side of the sport?
In any other sport the media caters to the athlete because they are well known or the sport itself is well known. But with cycling, I don’t think the media has truly has any idea what to do with us on a global level. One of the things we need to do, and I hope that the film helped in this, is that we need to show that these racers have personalities, that they have lives that are interesting on the bike as well as off. Once the media gets a whiff of the fascinating aspects in cycling, then I think that dynamic will change. Emma Pooley is a great example. She’s smart, funny and passionate. Also, I think that as female athletes, we need to celebrate each other as well. It’s one thing to be in competition and rip each other’s legs off, but when we’re off the bike we should elevate our sport by speaking highly of our competitors. We need to create fun dynamics, positive rivalries and really celebrate the attributes of our fellow racers."
Tell you VA friends (and have your DC buds take a road trip!). @HalfTheRoad screens next on Sat Mar 1st, 10am, Byrd Theater, Richmond, VA.— Kathryn Bertine (@KathrynBertine) February 4, 2014
Know anyone in VA? Go and stay with them and take them with you to the Half The Road women’s cycling film!
Bertine outlines what she believes are the most important things in year one. “Securing media and sponsorship will be the key factors, and of course, the fans of cycling can play an enormous role by supporting this year’s La Course race.
“Click on the links, watch the news programs, talk about the incredible change taking place…this is something we can all do to drive change. If we create the demand, opportunity and business potential for women’s pro cycling the thrive, then ASO will continue to see the value.”"
“We see this as a stepping stone toward a women’s Tour,” she told VeloNation, making clear that the long term ambition remains the same. “With the 2014 Tour de France less than six months away, we understand time is an issue and we’re grateful for the opportunity to make history this year with a one-day event.
“This race is a perfect launching pad to build upon in the years to come [as regards a multi-day womens’s Tour de France]. It’s important because female athletes need high profile stages on which to compete, with the associated media coverage and sponsorship, to truly enable them to shine. Le Tour is just that stage.”"
She believes this month’s UCI presidential election will play a “huge role” and insisted that should Brian Cookson defeat the incumbent Pat McQuaid it would be a catalyst for change.
Bertine added: “We have to elevate all of women’s cycling so it is sustainable. It’s about having a Tour de Everything, all the opportunities that the men have as well.
"Right now, we need change. We believe that Brian Cookson, in his manifesto, presents an opportunity for women’s cycling to move forward.
"If Pat McQuaid wins [a third term], my biggest fear is that nothing will happen.""
I am always interested in how some people choose to conflate the words “difficult” and “impossible”, but I wanted to draw your attention to how Prudhomme has been chastising the organisers of the women’s TdF petition, and the MP Harriet Harman, for how they went about it - apparently emailing is bad form?
I know for a fact people have been asking the ASO about more women’s racing for years, and the ASO has ignored them out of hand. So they’ve mobilised social media, and good for them!
(I am also interested in his implication that’s it’s impossible but that if they’d approached him in a different way, it might not be. Makes no sense…)
To support the calls for a women’s Tour de France, sign the petition, and share it with everyone you know who is interested in cycling, or women’s issues. Hell, even if you don’t care either way, knowing it annoys Pudhomme so much is surely worth a few clicks!
But Prudhomme said simply bolting on a women’s race to a Tour that is already full to capacity was not practical.
"It would have been better for (Harman) to talk to us at the end of one of the stages or after another race," said Prudhomme on a visit to Yorkshire on Friday. "We are not the only organizers of cycling in the world.
"Also, it would have been much easier to talk to us directly instead of a petition and (finding out by) opening your mailbox one morning and you don’t know what has happened.
"We are open to everything. Having women’s races is very important for sure. (But) the Tour is huge and you cannot have it bigger and bigger and bigger down the road—it is impossible."
So Prudhomme says Harman shouldn’t have emailed him her letter? And that the petition organisers are wrong for mobilising support? I know people have been trying to talk to him for YEARS about women racing - so what he’s saying is he’d prefer them to have emailed him, so he could have ignored them? I am hoping his quotes are lost in translation….
"It’s the biggest race in the world," Pooley told CNN. It’s a matter of principle, why shouldn’t we race? "It’s outdated and old fashioned to think women can’t do it —professional sport is there to inspire.
"So many women watch the Tour de France and they should have the chance to be able to be inspired.
"It’s a marketing game, it’s about sponsorship and money and I know that. But the sponsors and authorities should see the dollar signs because there’s a huge growing market and it’s growing quickly.""
Interviews with Kathryn Bertine, Emma Pooley and Brian Cookson about inequalities in cycling, and the petition for a women’s Tour de France. (Don’t forget, you can sign the petition on Change.org)