Sunday is a big day for women’s cycling. It marks the finale of the three-week, 21-stage Tour de France, but before the men roll into Paris, the leading female pro cyclists in the world will convene on the Champs Élysées for the much anticipated inaugural La Course de le Tour de France stage race.
The field includes top women’s cycling pros from 20 teams, including Olympic and world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-liv), England’s Lizzie Armistead (Boels Dolmans) and Sweden’s Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS). Among the registered U.S. teams: Optum-Kelly Benefit, UnitedHealthcare and Specialized-lululemon.
La Course, which will comprise 13 laps of the flat, 6.85 km course, totaling 96 km, is not the first women’s race held in conjunction with the Tour, but it will perhaps be the most visible thanks to live TV coverage, beginning at 7:30 a.m. (EST). The race will be broadcast in 147 countries, with 12 channels across 104 of those providing live coverage.
In the U.S., the race will be carried live and online on the cable channel Universal Sports Network. If it’s not part of your cable package, check here to see if your provider is among those offering a free week-long preview.
Media coverage is one key to helping raise visibility at a dynamic moment in the women’s sport. La Course is happening thanks to the efforts of leading women’s cyclists Emma Pooley, Marianne Vos, Kathryn Bertine and Chrissie Wellington, who initiated Le Tour Entier to create a framework of support for women’s cycling and to build the sport. The organization led an effort to gather almost 100,000 signatures on a petition calling for a women’s race at the Tour de France. Read more about it here and lend your support.
Olympian Dotsie Bausch will call the women’s race for Universal Sports, joined by Craig Hummer and Todd Gogulski.
For viewing in communion with fellow cycling fans in New York City, the Rapha Cycle Club in Manhattan will stream La Course, followed by the final stage of the Tour de France. Coffee and bakery items are available from their café. View their events schedule here.
Twitter: @LaCoursebyTDF #LaCourse
Facebook: La Course by Le Tour de France
La Course Start List and Competitors’ Social Media Handles, click here.