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Women's Tour of Britain scheduled for 2014

ESPN staff
July 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Emma Pooley wants a return of the Tour de France Feminin © PA Photos
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A women's version of the Tour of Britain will be staged in 2014, Head of British Cycling Brian Cookson has confirmed.

The race is scheduled to take place over five days in May and, while separate from the men's event in September, Cookson believes it will help showcase women's cycling.

"I'm pleased to be able to confirm that there will now be a five-day international stage race for women in Britain in 2014," Cookson said.

"The event will be separate from the men's race, but it will be promoted to a high standard and will, I'm sure, be the first step in having a full equivalent Tour of Britain as it develops.

"There's been a lot of attention recently on the need to develop women's cycling at all levels of the sport. People are passionate about the issue and are rightly frustrated that not enough is being done."

Meanwhile, Cookson is keen to consider the restoration of a Tour de France for women. The 'Tour de France Feminin' has not been held since 2009, when Brit Emma Pooley was crowned champion.

Pooley recently launched a petition calling for the return of race, but Cookson wants to use previous experience to ensure a women's version of the world's biggest cycling event would prove successful.

"Undoubtedly having a female equivalent of the biggest bike race in the world is certainly something we should explore," Cookson said.

"So I am currently setting up a meeting involving [Olympic road race champion] Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and other key representatives behind the petition with the right people, including Tour de France owners ASO, UCI Management Committee member Tracey Gaudry and myself.

"It is vital that we work as a group and tap into the wealth of knowhow of people like Tracey [Gaudrey] who as a professional rider rode three editions of the Tour Feminin.

"We know that some previous attempts to simply replicate men's events and men's teams have been problematic and failed, so it is vital that we learn from the past."

Cookson is currently challenging Pat McQuaid for the presidency of the UCI, cycling's world governing body.

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