Zwift has announced it will become the presenting sponsor of the women’s Tour de France on a four-year partnership beginning in 2022.
The inaugural edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift has been added to the Women’s WorldTour and is scheduled to start on July 24, 2022 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
“This is a huge moment for professional women’s cycling," said double world champion Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx).
"The Tour de France is the most famous race in cycling and it’s long been a dream for many of us in the women's peloton to compete in such a race. I’m hopeful that the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will help us grow our sport even more by providing us with a media platform to take the excitement of women's cycling to new audiences.”
In May, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme made a long-awaited confirmation that ASO will launch a women's Tour de France in 2022. The UCI later confirmed that the eight-day race would take place the week following the men’s Grand Tour, and replaces La Course on the Women’s WorldTour calendar. The Tour de France Femmes begins on July 24 and will finish on July 31.
"We are particularly glad to launch this new women's race with a partner like Zwift, who have considerably developed cycling around the world thanks to their connected platform," said Yann le Moënner, General Director of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organisers of the men’s and women’s Tours de France.
"We constructed a Virtual Tour de France together last year which turned out to be an immense success. Our respective teams learned to work together and now target the same objective: to develop women's cycling by introducing an unmissable event, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift."
The real-world Tour de France was postponed until August 29 last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the launch of the a virtual version - The Virtual Tour de France - that was run on Zwift across three weekends during the Tour's original dates in July. Lauren Stephens of TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank won the final stage and her team won the overall title.
“This is an incredibly important announcement for us as we look to build on our investment in women’s cycling and really help grow and develop the sport. Building on the success of the Virtual Tour de France on Zwift last year, this has been many months in the making and both Zwift and the A.S.O are delighted to make the dream a reality," said Eric Min, CEO & Co-Founder of Zwift.
"I’ve long been a fan of the attacking style of women’s racing. I really believe the women’s peloton puts on some of the most exciting bike racing to watch and it deserves a much bigger platform to exhibit these talents and skills. I’m proud that we can play a big part in making the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift a reality in 2022. Together we can bring women’s cycling to a larger audience and inspire new generations of female cyclists for years to come.”
In addition to Zwift's partnership with ASO for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, the organisation has announced its official jersey sponsors.
LCL will be supporting the yellow overall race leader's jersey, E.Leclerc will support the polka-dot jersey of the mountains classification. Liv Cycling, the company dedicated to getting more women on bikes, announced Thursday that it will support the best young rider classification jersey.
FDJ will remain a partner for La Course this year, and for the Tour de France Femmes and Paris-Roubaix, while Tissot Timing will be the timekeeper of the event. Other partners will be joining them in the next few weeks.
Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will host daily live television coverage with a broad exposure all over the world, in accordance with the Women's WorldTour media requirements.
France Télévisions will extend its “afternoon of cycling” coverage of the Tour de France by one week to allow viewers the chance to support the women's race. In addition, an agreement with the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) will mean that the event will be broadcast on large public channels in the biggest European markets, according to a press release on the Liv website.
Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, said, "building an event like the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift means offering women's cycling an event that is ready to highlight the sporting qualities of some exceptional riders. The birth of this race represents the prospect of seeing a women's race rise to the top of world sport. The riders and champions will no doubt be eager to take on some tough routes and go after the most prestigious of prizes, the yellow Jersey.”
🚴♀️ Le Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.🗓 Arrive en 2022…#TDFF #GoZwift pic.twitter.com/D2dK7CYHaZJune 17, 2021
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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