LONDON (Reuters) – Colombian Egan Bernal will win the Tour de France in Paris on Sunday but 10 intrepid amateur women riders can claim bragging rights after going further, higher and completing the three-week trek 24 hours earlier.
The Internationelles, a group of women fighting for equality, formed their own mini-peloton for the 3,480km route to highlight the lack of a women’s Tour de France.
Stages - Day - Men - Internationelles - Heat
Riding each of the 21 stages the day before men, the Internationelles survived boiling heat, freezing cold and 30 mountain climbs across the Vosges, Pyrenees and the Alps.
What is more, because of freak weather, the Internationelles dismounted on the Champs-Elysees on Saturday with the full distance in their legs, 100km or so more than the men who skipped Friday’s summit finish in Tignes because of landslides and one of Saturday’s two ascents.
Way - Message - Home - Women - Australian
As a way of banging the message home, it could hardly have worked out any more perfectly for the plucky women — five British, three Australian, one American and one Dutch — who survived one of sport’s most extreme challenges.
“I don’t know about tougher (than the men),” Louise Dixon, a 41-year-old mum of two who only took up cycling five years ago, told Reuters as she prepared for ‘glory ride’ into Paris along with Alex Chart, Carmen Acampo, Helen Bridgman, Helen Sharp, Julie-Anne Hazlett, Louise Gibson, Lucy Ritchie, Pippa Lyon, Sara Beck and Sarah Anne Evans.
Option - Way - Tignes
“We didn’t have the option of quitting or cutting it short. We rode all the way up to Tignes and it was absolutely chucking it down, it was really dangerous, but we rode through it.”
Dixon, who works for a tech company, said she had asked to join the French women’s group Donnons des Elles au Velo who have been riding the Tour de France route since 2015.
Instead, the Internationelles joined their...
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