May 31, 2010 (Carcassonne, France) – Rumours are circulating on the web that the longest running UCI event on the women’s elite road racing calendar might be in trouble. After 26 years, the Tour de l’Aude Cycliste Féminin stage race may have seen its last event according to the French website Veloclub du net. Emma Pooley (Gbr) Cervelo Test Team won the 2010 stage race.
No official announcements have been made, but the website notes:
– the economic crisis and consequent budget cuts that the Conseil Général de l’Aude must make
– the lack of economic partners in a department [province] which is becoming poorer
– the lack of recognition for women’s cycling
Another women’s race that is experiencing similar problems is the Tour de France Féminin, which starts and sputters each year. Recently Canada saw the cancellation of several high profile women’s events including the Montreal Women’s Road World Cup, the Tour du Grand Montreal, and the Tour de PEI.
The Tour de l’Aude is considered the top women’s race worldwide and has been won three times by Canadians: Linda Jackson won it in 1997, followed by Lyne Bessette in both 1999 and 2001.
Read original posting (in French) here.