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The women’s Tour de France is reborn as the 2022 route is unveiled Thursday at the Palais des Congrès in Paris by the new race director Marion Rousse. The eight-stage race, which kicks off on July 24 next year as the men’s Tour de France concludes, signifies a long-awaited leap forward in the profile of women’s racing.

Christian Prudhomme, longtime director of the Men’s Tour, owned by sports promoter ASO, said the women’s race is designed to “last for 100 years” and cited ASO’s support for the growth of women’s cycling, through racing. of a day La Course and Paris-Roubaix, and now the Women’s Tour.

For the first time, the elite women sat alongside the elite men of the peloton in the cavernous auditorium of the Palais des Congrès as their respective backgrounds were revealed. Rousse, who described it as a “real honor” to be the director of the Women’s Tour de France, added: “The women’s races that we have now are gems to cherish. “

After setting off on the Champs-Élysées, the women’s route of the Tour zigzags east towards the Vosges and Haut-Rhin, passing through sprint stages, gravel tracks through the Champagne vineyards, and a last weekend of high altitude climbs, culminating in 24% gravel until the Super Planche des Belles Filles.

“We wanted to leave from Paris,” Rousse said of the Women’s Tour. “With only eight stages, we couldn’t descend into the Alps or the Pyrenees, the transfers would be too long. The Women’s Tour de France champion will win € 50,000 (£ 42,300) and there is another € 200,000 pot for the stage and classification winners.

The last yellow jersey holder of the Men’s Tour, on the other hand, wins € 500,000 (traditionally shared with his team-mates) and an additional prize pool of over € 2 million is offered to stage victories and classification winners.

Lizzie Deignan, winner of the first women’s Paris-Roubaix earlier this month, described it as “an important day for cycling, not just for women’s cycling. This is a key indicator that the sport continues to progress as we are now able to compete in the world’s most famous cycling race, ”said the former world champion and two-time winner of the Women’s Tour of Britain. “I think the organizers have done a very good job preparing the route for this edition.

The Women’s Tour de France is reborn as the 2022 route is unveiled in eight stages |  Tour de France
Lizzie Deignan believes this announcement marks an important milestone for women’s cycling. Photograph: François Lo Presti / AFP / Getty Images

“It will showcase the best of women’s cycling with a stage suitable for each type of rider, which I was really hoping for. The course has been designed to offer entertaining races from start to finish, but also to reach a crescendo with the last stage ending on the Super Planche des Belles Filles, one of the most difficult climbs in professional cycling.

Rousse adds: “The steps are obviously shorter for women than for men. Men can travel 225 km. For the girls, the longest race in our squad is 175 km and we even needed a special waiver for that.

“Each stage is dynamic, different and interesting,” said Deignan, who rides for Trek-Segafredo. “I am particularly interested in the fourth stage between Troyes and Bar-sur-Aube; unpaved roads are unusual and something we don’t come across often. The inclusion of a stage with gravel sections will mean that it will likely be a complete rider who wins the Tour de France Women.

The men’s race begins in Copenhagen on July 1, with a Grand Départ featuring the Danish love story with two wheels, which kicks off with an individual 13km time trial. Two other Danish stages are followed by a 900 kilometer transfer to the northern coast of France for a series of flat stages, including an arrival in Arenberg which includes 11 sections of the formidable cobblestones of “the hell of the North”.

The Women’s Tour de France is reborn as the 2022 route is unveiled in eight stages |  Tour de France
Christian Prudhomme presents the course of the men’s race. Photography: Luc Claessen / Getty Images

The men’s Tour then heads south towards the Vosges and its own finish at the Super Planche des Belles Filles, before skirting the Jura and then tackling the Alps, with summit finishes at the Col du Granon at high altitude and , on Bastille Day, the ascent of the hairpin ladder leading to Alpe d’Huez.

The denouement will probably take place in the Pyrenean climbs that proved the success of Tour champion Tadej Pogacar in 2020 and 2021. The summit arrivals in Peyragudes and Hautacam will suit the Slovenian, whose recent victory in the Italian classic, Il Lombardia, has further strengthened its dominance of the peloton.

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A final time trial over a 40 km route between Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour, will seal the outcome of the race, before the final walk stage, to the Champs-Élysées, scheduled for the aftermath of the stage. opening of the women’s race.

Pogacar, clearly the runner to beat, no matter what the pitch, has already sorted out his post-title defense plan. “When I finish my Tour, I go in a motorhome to see the Women’s Tour,” said the leader of the United Arab Emirates.