Women cyclists petition to compete in 2014 Tour de France

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Olympic cyclists lead campaign to participate in iconic French road race…

Tour de France 2013

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Over 13,000 people have signed a petition to allow women to compete in 2014's Tour de France competition.

The campaign led by two-time Olympic gold medallist Marianne Vos and other elite female cyclists including British Olympian Emma Pooley, is urging Tour de France organisers to let women participate.

In an open letter to Christian Prudhomme, Director of Tour de France, the campaigners explain, 'For 100 years, the Tour de France has been the pinnacle endurance sports event of the world…And for 100 years, it has been an exclusively male race.'

'After a century, it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too,' it reads.

The petition continues to explain that road cycling remains one of the worst offenders of athletic inequality, with fewer race opportunities, no televised coverage and as a result, a massive gulf between prize money on offer.

The campaign is not asking for women to compete against the men, but to have their own version of the event covering the same distance, on the same days – but just running at a different start time so the racers don't clash.

So why can't women take part? Union Cycliste Internationale has rules limiting the distance women can ride in a single race. In order for women to compete it says, there would need to be a change in the race or women would have to finish at a different point.

The letter addresses this stating, 'In the late 1960s people assumed that women couldn't run the marathon. 30 years on we can look back and see how erroneous this was,' it explains. 'Hopefully 30 years from now, we will see 2014 as the year that opened people's eyes to true equality in the sport of cycling.'

Good on you ladies. If you want to show your support, sign the petition at change.org

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