Planned revival of La Route de France cancelled

Withdrawal of host town shoots down 2018 race

The planned return of La Route de France, which was cancelled last year over date conflicts with other races, has been shot down by the withdrawal of a host community.

La Route de France Féminine started in 2006 as a successor to the Tour de France Féminin, but last year failed in its bid to join the UCI Women's WorldTour, and was cancelled because its date overlapped with the European Championships and Swedish WorldTour races in Vårgårda.

The six-stage UCI 2.1 event was set to take place this year from June 5-10. But race organiser Hervé Gerardin posted on the race's Facebook page that the department of Nièvre, which was due to post two stages, has declined to participate.

"Having no alternative, I am forced within 7 weeks of the Grand Départ to make an urgent decision," Gerardin wrote. "It is with great bitterness that I made the decision this Sunday to cancel the 2018 edition of the Route de France Internationale Féminine.

"I can only regret this surprising attitude, which disrespects the other communities that have engaged in hosting this event, but also for the partners, the media, the teams, the providers and all the staff of the organization."

Gerardin stated that he has decided to forgo any future race plans.

"This cancellation will surely have in the days to come very important repercussions on the survival of the company but I can officially announce my final withdrawal in the world of international women's cycling," he concluded.

The race had been a launching pad for the careers of several professional racers, including Annemiek van Vleuten, whose 2010 overall win was her first major stage race victory. Other winners include Evelyn Stevens, Linda Villumsen and Amber Neben.

La Route de France was one of just two stage races for elite women in that country. The other, Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche, is due to take place in September.


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