The Tour de France is a three-week, 2,000-mile test of speed, strength and endurance like few other sporting events. The world’s best female road cyclist wants to join the men.
Dutch Olympic champion Marianne Vos was part of a group that started an online petition to allow female professional cycling teams to compete in the Tour de France next year.
Also in the group is Great Britain’s Emma Pooley, the 2008 Olympic time trial silver medalist, ESPNW columnist/cyclist/filmmaker Kathryn Bertine and British world ironman triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington.
“For 100 years, the Tour de France has been the pinnacle endurance sports event of the world, watched by and inspiring millions of people. And for 100 years, it has been an exclusively male race (there was a separate Tour Feminin in the 1980s, but it lacked parity, media coverage, and sponsorship). After a century, it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too,” they wrote in a letter to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.
The petition argues women’s road cycling faces some of the worst gender inequality among sports in terms of number of competitions, TV coverage and prize money.
“Having a women’s pro field at the Tour de France will also create an equal opportunity to debunk the myths of physical ‘limitations’ placed upon female athletes,” they wrote. “In the late 1960s people assumed that women couldn’t run the marathon. Thirty years on we can look back and see how erroneous this was. 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.”
Olympic champion cyclist Tony Martin shows off gruesome Tour de France wounds
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Nine more athletes, including six medal winners, have been retroactively disqualified from the 2008 Beijing Olympics after failing retests of their doping samples.
The International Olympic Committee announced the decisions on Wednesday in the latest sanctions imposed on athletes whose stored samples came back positive after being retested with improved methods.
Four athletes from former Soviet countries were stripped of silver medals, and two of bronze medals. The medals were in weightlifting, wrestling and steeplechase.
The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years to allow them to be reanalyzed when enhanced techniques become available.
The IOC recorded a total of 98 positive cases in recent resting of samples from Beijing and the 2012 London Olympics.
VIDEO: Yao Ming reflects on Beijing Olympics
Rory McIlroy has said he was proven wrong about golf’s place in the Olympics, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s keen on the 2020 Tokyo Games after skipping Rio.
The four-time major champion was asked Wednesday if he had any plans to play in the next Olympics and called it a “tough question.”
“The participation in the Olympics for me, it’s just a little more complicated I feel for me than some other people from where I’m from and the whole politics of the thing,” McIlroy said. “It’s a difficult subject for me.”
McIlroy is from Northern Ireland, which does not have a separate delegation at the Olympics. That led to a scrutinized decision for McIlroy, who had to choose in 2014 between representing Great Britain and Ireland for golf’s Olympic return in Rio.
McIlroy opted for Ireland, which he represented at the World Cup of Golf in 2009 and 2011.
“I don’t know whether it’s been because the World Cup has been in Brazil and I’ve been thinking a couple of years down the line,” McIlroy reportedly said in June 2014. “Thinking about all the times that I played as an amateur for Ireland and as a boy and everything, I think for me it’s the right decision to play for Ireland in 2016.”
Golf’s place in the Olympics is not guaranteed beyond 2020, so Tokyo may be McIlroy’s last opportunity.
“Four years’ time is a long ways away, so we’ll see what happens,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “Right now, I’ll concentrate on the 16 majors that we have between now and then and try to get a few more of those and go from there.”
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