18:10 May. 23, 2016
The men-only competition may change its status
In July, Ukrainian Tetyana Kalachova and a small female team will complete all stages of the famous 21-day long bicycle men-only race – Tour de France.
Her female team aims to show that cycling is a sport not only for men, since women can also overcome great distances and significant obstacles.
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"Tour de France professional race will kick off on July 2, but we will get off one day earlier. We can do what well-trained male professionals do. We ride the same routes, but not against the clock. We record the time, but we do not compete with each other", says Kalachova.
Photo courtesy - pink.ua
The team consists of 14 women, although only seven of them - Ukrainian, Belgian, and five French women aged 25-32 - will chase all the route segments.
Tour de France is quite a long race that is why it is divided into few stages: from July 1 to July 23 riders will chase the track from Mont St Michel to Paris, with two days off, and a number of individual time competitions. This year's competitors will cover a total distance of 3,519 kilometres.
"Some time ago there was a female version of Tour de France, but it was cancelled in 1989. They said that, on the one hand, the female competition was not so popular and exciting as men's cycling races, on the other - the route was very hard and women were not able to go through all stages without doping," Kalachova says.
"We want to show that women - even amateurs - are able to overcome really long distances. The cycling is not designed for men only. We are all united by one idea – to go through all stages of the track. Without doping or extra efforts. It is not easy, but it is possible," the Ukrainian cyclist added.
The main purpose is to make bicycle racing attractive for women because it is not always possible to find female-adapted equipment: cycling clothes, shoes, saddles or bicycles.
Tour de France: the only-men bicycle racing? (AP Photo)