HALFORDS has today written to the Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI) to
add its voice to the campaign for a women’s race that is equal to
the Tour de France. Male cyclists competing in the gruelling but glorious
course cover over 3,360km across 21 stages for the chance to win prize money
equivalent to more than £320,000. The women’s race, set in Paris
at the end of the Tour, is 89km long in comparison with total prize money
set at just over £16,000 to be split between riders.
Halfords’ YouGov research has found that there are differences in adulthood between attitude toward, and frequency of, men and women cycling. When it comes to ability, 11 per cent of women say they can’t ride a bike, compared to six per cent of men, and in terms of frequency, 20 per cent of men cycle once a month or more, compared to just nine per cent of women. More than 20 per cent of women say cycling on the road “petrifies” them.
The letter to the UCI references this, identifying the need for the sport to do more to inspire young girls and women to cycle into adulthood, and a female equivalent to, or even team in, the TDF is a huge leap towards this.
Double Olympic medallist Victoria Pendleton, who designs an exclusive bike range for Halfords said; “I cycled from a young age either out on the road with my dad or at grass track races – back then there were not many women riding in any capacity. Whilst there are many more women out on their bikes today, I believe there is still so much more that we can do to encourage even more women and girls to take up the sport. The TDF is the biggest race in the world - and the most watched - so if there was an equal women’s event it would go a long way to inspiring more females to take up cycling.”
Halfords’ commercial director Emma Fox said, “It’s a surprise that in 2015 such a major cycling event doesn’t have a true women’s equivalent. Heroes like Victoria Pendleton have shown that women can take on the toughest Olympic feats – it’s now time that the most prestigious bike race in the world shows the next generation of young girls and women that they too can face the same course as men.”
Halfords is a proud partner of British Cycling’s women’s cycle network, Breeze, which is the largest programme in Britain designed to get women cycling.