Since reporting on the campaign launched by Emma Pooley, Marianne Vos and two other elite female cyclists to race in the Tour de France it has been suggested by certain sources that the recipient of the petition is less than enthusiastic about the idea.
The online public petition – addressed to the Tour de France race Director, Christian Prudhomme – has been set up to campaign to allow the pro-women’s peloton to race in conjunction with, not against, the men’s field. In their letter to Prudhomme; Pooley, Vos and their counterparts state;
We seek not to race against the men, but to have our own professional field running in conjunction with the men's event, at the same time, over the same distances, on the same days, with modifications in start/finish times so neither gender's race interferes with the other.
It seems their hope to have women compete in a parallel racing field has fallen on deaf ears. Before the start of Tuesday's 16th stage of the Tour de France, Prudhomme was reported to have brushed off a question about the online letter and petition.
In response to being asked by the Associated Press about his thoughts on the campaign addressed to him, Prudhomme apparently swatted the air with the back of his hand and answered,
We are saying nothing for the moment.
Through a Tour spokesman, the Associated Press had already sought comment from Prudhomme four days prior to the aforementioned hand gesturing, but no response was given until Tuesday.
Now we appreciate Prudhomme is mid-duties at the Tour de France, but surely the professional female athletes deserve a more thorough thought out response than the one that was given.
As the Tour starts to wind down, we await further comment from Prudhomme, specially as the petition has now garnered over 50,000 signatures.
Want to sign the petition? Go to change.org website and then pass the link on.
Follow the growing campaign on Twitter: @LeTourEntier
Headline image by Hyku via Flickr.