Faced with misogynistic criticism, women’s Tour de France cyclists rise up

The women’s Tour de France started on Sunday. If the week-long race promised to finally give women their place, it is particularly commented on on social networks, between ironic and misogynistic comments. Tired, two cyclists reacted.

“Seeing a woman dancing is very pretty, seeing a woman playing football is ugly, seeing a woman on a bicycle is ugly,” said Marc Madiot, now team boss, in the 1980s. Groupama-FDJ, facing a patient but dumbfounded Jeannie Longo. Almost 30 years later, society has moved on, but the harsh comments of some continue to pollute women’s sport. While the new version of the women’s Tour de France was launched on Sunday from Paris, the competition is heavily criticized on social networks.

Lack of spectacle or tactical issues, falls… nothing is spared cyclists. Tired of these repeated attacks, while they themselves are great champions, several cyclists have decided to defend themselves. Luxembourg’s Christine Majerus, 35, of the SD Worx team, posted a series of photos on Twitter showing falls in the men’s peloton. “For all the haters, is this enough?” she wrote. A publication that was shared by her Belgian teammate Lotte Kopecky, who participated in the Rio and Tokyo Olympics in 2016 and 2021.

French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot also stepped up, this time responding directly to a message written by former journalist and rugby commentator Pierre Salviac. The latter, accustomed to hazardous outings on Twitter and which have earned him some problems in the past (he was fired from RTL after an insulting and sexist message to Valérie Trierweiler), posted: “The Tour de France is that? A festival of collective falls. Are the girls ready for a competition of this level? I say that but I say nothing ;-((“. And it is in two specific points that Audrey Cordon-Ragot replied. “We are women not girls, unless you call the runners “boys “”, she first said. And then to add: “I opt for option 2 “I say nothing…!”. The “people” who start talking about cycling and venting their frustration because they don’t wear panties at home! We love it”.

To a surfer asking her if it was worth it to “spend energy” to answer, the young woman declared: “What bothers me is precisely that he comes from the sports world! As for the other frustrated morons, I don’t waste my time answering them. But if they are attacked, cyclists can count on the support of some of their male counterparts, like Alexis Vuillermoz, forced to leave the Tour after the ninth stage due to health problems. “Disillusioned to read such comments on @LeTourFemmes! Cycling is such a hard and thankless sport… We owe them our respect in the same way as men, and encourage the practice of sport in all its forms and whatever the gender! On the side of the roads, the public is also present, and will undoubtedly be so until Sunday, the day of arrival of the Tour.

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