The director of the Tour de France des Femmes indicated Thursday, October 14 on franceinfo that “250,000 euros in prize money in total” will be awarded when the winner of the men’s Tour de France alone receives 500,000 euros. Appointed at the head of the Women’s Grande Boucle, the former champion Marion Rousse, who is also a consultant for France Télévisions, will present the route of this event of eight stages, which will take place from July 24 to 31.
franceinfo: You are now director of this new women’s Tour de France. Did you hesitate, even for a moment, to accept?
Marion Rousse: Honestly, I didn’t hesitate for long. It must have played out in maybe three seconds. It is true that when Christian Prudhomme contacted me, told me about this project to appoint myself director of the Tour de France women with Zwift, I who was a professional cyclist, who saw the evolution of women’s cycling from year after year, it is now consistent to do this benchmark race which was missing from the UCI calendar.
“I am delighted to have a now important role in the development of women’s cycling.”Marion red
In your former champion career, would you have liked to compete in this women’s Tour de France?
Yes, but afterwards, I am not bitter. I’m not the type to ruminate, to tell myself it’s a shame, I should have been riding a bike ten years later. No, that’s how it is. I have known the races where we were hosted in high schools and the organizers did what they could, unfortunately. But women’s cycling has evolved. There are more and more teams being created, races being created, media coming and therefore more budgets. I am delighted to have a now important role in the development of women’s cycling.
Last year, the ecological mayor of Lyon, Gregory Doucet, denounced the fact that there was no Grande Boucle feminine. He had spoken of a macho atmosphere in the world of cycling. Finally, the rebirth of the female Grande Boucle almost proves him right?
Not at all. Because I think that in a few months we won’t even talk about it. The media coverage of women’s cycling has not only existed since yesterday. We see the progress, we see the progress. I think she’s someone, for sure, who didn’t watch women’s cycling on TV too much. But I think that with the Tour de France Women which will make its appearance this year, we have also seen the part of ASO (Amaury Sport Organization) which is in the development of women’s cycling. And not only since this year. There are races that have been around for many years, like Liège Bastogne Liège, the Flèche Wallonne, there was a women’s round of Qatar, so it’s not something new. We should be happy and not talk about controversy.
Will it be broadcast on France Télévisions as the men’s Tour de France?
Yes, there will be two hours of direct a day produced by France Télévisions, obviously, and broadcast in more than 170 countries.
The question that annoys Marion Rousse is that of bonuses. A few days ago the Paris-Roubaix was contested for men and women. The winner won 30,000 euros, the winner 1,500. Is that normal?
So no, this is not normal. But today, Amaury Sport Organization has chosen to create a Paris-Roubaix women’s race which did not exist before and which had no sponsor since it did not exist. So we did not know its potential in terms of media coverage, which was a success since we practically had two million audiences. So, obviously, next year, we hope that the media will come and join us, that we have sponsors and that the prices and grids of the International Cycling Union evolve.
It is really a desire to pay women at the same price as men as soon as possibleMarion red
What will be the amount of the bonus for the Women’s Grande Boucle next summer?
It will be 250,000 euros in total price. For the men it is 500,000 euros for the final victory. But you should also know that it is a Tour de France that lasts three weeks. There, it will be eight stages so, we can compare more to races like Paris-Nice or the Critérium du Dauphiné. And I can tell you that it is more than on the Dauphiné currently.
The ultimate goal is that women get the same as men?
It really is a desire to pay women the same price as men as soon as possible. We are already going to ensure that this first edition of the Tour de France women is a success. That is really our first objective that, from a sporting point of view, it is very coherent. That we have a beautiful show, that the media are interested, that we really enter the hearts of the French, the customs of the French. That women’s cycling is no longer a surprise when you turn on the TV and see girls on a bicycle. But although this is normal. We will have already won our bet and everything will follow very quickly.
So there will be eight stages. Why only a week of racing?
I think that, already, it is coherent from a sporting point of view. This is a first edition. We do not want to relaunch a women’s Tour de France, but to create it, so we do not refrain, on the other hand, in the future, from doing more stages. But we already want to appropriate eight days of stages, that it be done under the same conditions as the men. Because honestly, having done all the women’s races in stages, there is none where we are really housed the same as the men, that we have the same prices, the same audiences, the same media. So, this is really already our first objective and the rest will come very quickly. But we have no barriers and we want to evolve and improve from year to year.