French cycling legend and three-time winner of the 1980s Women’s Tour de France, Jeanie Longo scores points “There are too many teams and they don’t have the best international level.” In a phone interview with AFP, before the decisive weekend in the Vosges, she talks about Great Loop, still a favorite of Annemiek van Vleuten.
read again. General classification of Tour de France women after stage 6
Annemiek van Vleuten is a minute and a half behind Marianne Vos, but is she still the favorite?
She will give it her all in the final two stages. It is only for this reason that she can express herself correctly. She has the means to take minutes. I’m sure she’s not very comfortable in her platoon of 144 elements with such a level disparity.
Can this explain some falls?
In my opinion there are too many teams, some that don’t have the best international level and are rubbing shoulders with young people who have no manoeuvre. They go through with very little room on the handlebar So inevitably you will touch everywhere. Some people just don’t have enough attention. A woman who puts her all into the peloton on the ground like Monday, that’s not normal. In my opinion, she has 144 runners at the start. But falls still happen.
“We had the road completely to ourselves”
Are the organization and means better than the tour of the 1980s?
No, the road was completely to ourselves. The Republican Guard bikers were there for transfers and everything. Organizationally it was great. The men’s tour July crowd was also there for us, in his first two years we didn’t hear from him this year so we didn’t even know there was a women’s tour. But then they came on purpose. It was a desire to stop the women’s Tour de France. I was told that it would be troublesome and that it would cost money. Organizations generally keep the gentlemen at the top of the herd and give up the slightly less rewarding ones in moments when the economy weakens.
Is it always a risk?
I met famous and formidable women, such as Antoinette Hoek and Simone Vert. They always told me I get the impression that men are swallowing their pride by saying, “We need women,” but that’s not to be expected.
Mark Madiot? ‘He evolved’
I can no longer imagine, as Mark Madiot said on television in 1987, that “women on bicycles are ugly”…
He evolved and was a peloton youth. I was able to cite others. Some of them didn’t particularly appreciate that I was named or that women did what they did. They were giants of the road and, as I called them at the time, we arrived as little dwarfs on the pavement.
5 Road Race World Titles (1985-1987, 1989, 1995), 3 Tour de France Titles (1987-1989), 1 Olympic Title (1996) A dwarf with immeasurable achievements… What is your best memory?
They are different. With the Olympic title, I got the impression that everything changed. was like a pass. A person’s gaze will change, and it will be the planet that is looking at you. During the Olympics, the general public watches all disciplines and all sports. But there was also a lot of emotion in arriving on the Champs Elysées in yellow – I don’t remember if I paraded with Pedro Delgado. But for Greg (Lemon) and Stephen (Roche), yes. For Stephen, it was an important year for us (1987), he won the Tour de France and the World Championship twice.