He will ride every day, or almost, until July 22, the day before the men’s Tour de France arrives on the Champs-Elysées. Nine ambassadors of the association “Give them to the J-1 bicycle” will cover more than 3,400 km, at an altitude of 50,000 m above sea level. With a very simple goal: promoting women’s cycling. “We have focused on the development aspect for three years, working as ambassadors for team members,” explains Claire Floret, one of the founders of the project. “It could be outings between women, stage scouting, mechanical workshops. These are all things that can get women into cycling, or at least keep them committed to the practice.”
None of the nine drivers are professionals
None of the nine cyclists are professionals. They come from the four corners of France and met only one weekend to get to know each other. They have the role of “ambassadors” and are selected according to their level and vision of the sport. “From the moment the group is homogeneous, it is perfect, we are not looking for world champions. We live together for three weeks, and effort, fatigue is what creates a “group”, continues Claire Floret. The nine ambassadors will be able to count on the support of 70 volunteers every day, 35 women and 35 men, who will accompany them in their performance with the possibility of covering only half the distance.
Despite the return of the Women’s Tour, there is still much work to be done
Before the return of the women’s Tour de France last year, there were no women’s stage cycling events in France. Despite the return of this great women’s loop to the international calendar, according to Claire Floret there is still a lot of work to do. “There are only 12/13% women members in the French cycling federation. If we want to create an elite, we must work on the basis of practitioners. A lot of work needs to be done on development and structuring. We encourage clubs to create their own women’s structure.”
On July 22, the nine ambassadors of “Give them a J-1 bicycle” will ride 21 stages, with, like the boys, only two days of rest.