Why the female Tour de France is rising from the ashes

Posted on July 23, 2022 at 9:30 am

It’s the end of 30 years of absence. This Sunday, the female Tour de France has officially returned to the saddle. Proton surpasses that of a man who departs from Paris and finishes a trip of just over three weeks. Menu of 24 teams and 144 riders: Eight stages spanning 1,035.5 kilometers, finishing as a grand finale at the top of Haute-Saône’s Superplanche de Belfil. An event that can lead women’s cycling to a new era.

“This will change the status of our sport, accelerate its specialization and stimulate the virtuous circle established five years ago. The manager and boss of the FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope team lined up at the start of the event. Stephen Delcourt confesses .. Currently, 180 days of professional races are being broadcast on TV and platforms, allowing about 250 runners to live out of practice compared to about 20 years ago » »»

The event was led by the ASO Group, which stopped hosting the Women’s Grande Boukle in 1993. [d’autres courses par étapes féminines en France reprenant le même principe ont ensuite été conçues par d’autres, mais sans jamais réellement décoller, NDLR].. “Given the success of major women’s sporting events, including the Soccer World Cup in France, I thought it was a good time to restart the race,” said ASO, who launched the project in 2019. Julian Gupil, Director of Partnerships and Media, explains.

Tests that must be done over time

In recent years, ASO has already stepped up its offering of women’s cycling competitions, offering the best men’s one-day races (Liège-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Roubaix, etc.). The women’s Tour de France, the jewel of the crown, was logically the next step, even if the ASO wanted to be cautious. “For us, it’s an investment, not the financial balance of the first edition,” said Julien Goupil. This is a test that needs to be installed over time. »»

In the same tone on the part of many sponsors of the event, many “doubled” in the men’s Tour de France. “We are looking forward to it. I don’t know how many people are on the road,” says LCL. Eric Etienne, Head of the Tour de France Partnership at Leclerc, said:

Without much hesitation, the “Apartment Cyclist” Zwift training application will be the title sponsor (“naming”) of the event (titled “Tour de France Women and Zwift”) until 2025. “This is a good opportunity for business. Being the title sponsor of the first event gives us great visibility,” said Kate Veronneau, Zwift’s Director of Women’s Strategy, for sports sponsorship. It states that it is the biggest investment. According to the Association of Sports Economy Players Sporsora, the price is estimated at € 2 million per edition.

Global exhibition

That’s because there are some luxury goods in the women’s Tours de France. As with the men’s race, the exhibition will be held globally as it will be broadcast in 190 countries. In France, France Télévisions, a historic partner of the Men’s Tour de France (the event’s host broadcaster since the public group created images for ASO to resell worldwide), made the event logically clear and clear in France 3. Broadcast live. (Payment for joint broadcasts via Eurosport France).

“We are optimistic because women’s sports are really booming, and because women’s toured France begins at the end of men and there is a shortage of viewers,” said the public audiovisual group. Laurent Eric Leray, Sports Director of the, explains. .. As for advertisers, about 50 major brands such as Coffidis, Skoda and Hotel.com will communicate through the screen of France Television during the event. The regulars there too.

“We found a male Tour de France advertiser with a mixed target population,” explains Marianne Sipurdis, head of the advertising division of France Television. There are no women’s hygiene or cosmetology brands that have specifically purchased the Women’s Grande Bouclé Spot. »»

“The desire not to copy and paste in the Men’s Tour de France”

Uniqueness at the TV advertiser level that does not prevent a female platoon from innovating in production. Therefore, viewers can hear discussions about racing strategies between the rider and his sporting director, as is done in F1 where the interaction between the driver and the team is broadcast. “I don’t want to copy and paste the Tour de France men’s, which has a history of more than 100 years and has its own history,” Julian Goupil claims. Starting Sunday, the Women’s Tour de France will have to create their own courses.