Tour de France seeks sponsor for women’s race

Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the organising body for the Tour de France, is bidding to attract a US sponsor to help support a women’s edition of the cycling race.

ASO chairman Jean-Etienne Amaury said in an interview with the Bloomberg news agency that additional support is needed to finance the extra cost of holding a women’s race that will run for as long as one week on the same course as the men’s event.

ASO did stage a women’s Tour de France from 1984 until 1989 but the race was discontinued due to lack of interest from fans and the media.

A petition in 2013 led to the staging of an inaugural one-day women’s race in the form of 'La Course', which took place on the final day of the men’s event in July. California-based bicycle maker Specialised Bicycle Components sponsored the inaugural La Course. ASO has already announced plans to stage the event again in 2015.

ASO said there was more interest in the race from the US than most of Europe, despite the Tour de France drawing the majority of sponsorship from its home country. The men’s event is heavily backed by telecommunications company Orange, Accor’s Ibis hotel brand and supermarket chain Carrefour.