Tour de France - Trott proposes women's day at the Tour de France

British cycling star Laura Trott thinks a full-blown women’s Tour de France could be too much too soon, but that a one-off day-race during the men's Tour would be a great way to start.

Eurosport
Cycling - Trott relishing track return
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Laura Trott (Reuters)

Recent weeks have seen plenty of discussion about bringing back the women’s Tour, which was last raced in 2009.

Multiple Olympic champion Trott had previously gone on record saying it would be a good idea, but that it should be shorter than the men’s edition, with work needed to promote and televise existing races.

More specifically, Trott is concerned about the impact on the women’s Giro d’Italia, which takes place at around the same time as the men’s Tour.

“The first thing is to shorten the stages, but more importantly not to run it at the same time as the men’s tour,” the 21-year-old told Eurosport-Yahoo!.

“We would lose other events like the women’s Giro, which runs at the same time. The Giro is a huge event for women’s cycling and it would show a lack of respect to run the Tour at the same time.

“It would have to be after the men’s tour due to the way the calendar is, and I’d have it shorter – 5-7 days perhaps.”

But this is a longer-term proposal from Trott, who thinks an initial solution could be to use the existing popularity – and television profile – of the men’s Tour to promote women’s cycling. 

“The men’s tour wasn’t massive straight away, it took a while to settle in. It was never huge to start with and got to the size it is over a number of years.

“So a shorter women’s Tour – or maybe even a single stage – would be a way to raise awareness. The events we have at the minute aren’t televised, which is why the interest is low. We need to get it on telly a bit more.

“Women’s track cycling is huge, but there must be a reason why road cycling isn’t, and the only reason is the lack of TV coverage. With TV comes sponsors, and that’s what we’re lacking – sponsors.

“So why not do something alongside the men’s Tour to promote women’s cycling? There’s enough space in the calendar to have one day at the Tour without disrespecting the Giro.

“Maybe the women could compete the Paris stage or – even though it’s massive task – Alpe d’Huez, while the men’s Tour is being broadcast.”

Given her huge success at the London Olympic Games last year, it can be hard to believe that Trott is only 21. As such, she was competing at the European U23 Championships last week, where she predictably was in dominant form. 

“I won three golds out of four events, then had a week off, having not had one since the Worlds, so I could put my feet up and concentrate for the World Cup.

“Next we have a Team Pursuit camp so it’s the first time we’re doing 4k as opposed to 3k, which will be interesting.”

Outside of training and competition, Trott has noticed a huge change in the way she is perceived since London 2012, saying she finds the attention “difficult” at times.

“I’m an idol now and I wasn’t before. It’s getting used to that which is difficult – people look up to me, and I find that weird at 21.

“People do treat me differently, although less so than straight after the Games. My lifestyle is a lot more busy now, doing a lot more involvement in campaigns.”

Campaigns such as First Choice’s ‘balanceability’ bikes, which aims to help time-starved parents teach their children to ride bikes while on holiday.

“Something like 40% of kids aged two-and-a-half to six can’t ride a bike because their parents don’t have time to teach them,” Trott said.

“So First Choice is taking it to Majorca when everyone’s on holiday, so parents do have time – and the weather’s great too.”

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London 2012 double Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott has teamed up with First Choice to launch the innovative Balanceability programme at its Holiday Village Majorca. The course aims to help children as young as 2 ½ to learn to ride a bike whilst on holiday. For more information visit http://www.firstchoice.co.uk/blog/

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