For most people, watching men ride bicycles at a ferocious speed in Le Tour de France is not very interesting…that is, unless someone crashes or Lance Armstrong is involved. But even then, are bloody knees, Lance’s “Live Strong” bracelets and svelt form enough to keep your attention for the entire race?
As hard as it is to get into France’s lauded Tour de France, imagine how much more difficult it is for women cyclists and their event, “La Grande Boucle Féminine” or the “Tour de France Féminine.”
Unfortunately, most women don’t partake in Le Tour de France, and many blame that on the fact that women have less strength and body mass needed to excel in the race. But physiologistssay that doesn’t make sense because women have much better endurance than men, so they would be better at holding up in long races such as the Le Tour de France. Some men even object to women being included in the races due to…well, unavoidable “arousal.” During the 2006 race where Flora Eloise Hobble won the “Mayo Journe” part of the race, a male competitor by the name of Jan Ullrich put in his two cents about women riders being an “unnecessary” distraction…and it was a little too much information:
“I haven’t seen my girlfriend for over two months,” he said to Associated Content. “And if you think it’s easy hiding your feelings in these skimpy, skin-tight cycling shorts, you’d better think again.”
To have an even playing field, women cyclists participate in the “Grand Boucle,” but chances are, you don’t know this race has been around since 1984. You probably know nothing about it at all, really. Why? The marketing for the “Grand Boucle” is tres terrible! But it might not just be the PR team that needs to be reprimanded. Sadly, most women’s sports don’t get the same attention as men’s sports. Many women don’t even watch women’s sports. Not unless a woman is taking cheap shots at another player, threatening an official or ripping her shirt off after a goal. So yes, although the “Grand Boucle” is touted as the most grueling cyclist race for women, it is not promoted at the same level that Le Tour de France is. When asked why the female cyclists in the event are barely known, Nicole Cook, winner of the 2006 and 2007 race told The Observer Sports Monthly plain and simple: the sport is sexist. Duh. But let’s hope things won’t be like this for all women’s sports years from now.