Watersports

Wiebes wins on the Champs-Elysées with the return of the Women’s Tour

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Lorena Wiebes of the Netherlands sprints to the finish line to win the first stage of the 81.7 kilometer (50.8 mile) Tour de France women’s cycling race with start and finish in Paris, France , Sunday July 24, 2022. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands finishes second. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

PA

Lorena Wiebes of the Netherlands sprinted to victory on Sunday in the first stage of the women’s Tour de France which returned after a 33-year absence.

The DSM team runner struck in the final 150 meters of the 82-kilometre (51-mile) circuit in Paris to beat former Olympic champion Marianne Vos to the line on the Champs-Élysées.

Wiebes hit the air in celebration.

“I’m really happy to have finally been able to run on the Champs-Elysées,” said Wiebes. “It was a tough, fast race. It’s really special to ride here around Paris and even more special to wear the yellow jersey.

Tour of Flanders champion Lotte Kopecky finished third.

This is the first time since 1989 that a women’s edition of the Tour de France has been organised. Tour de France organizer Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) previously organized La Course, a one-day race held in Paris coinciding with the men’s Tour.

The first stage started from the Eiffel Tower and finished on the iconic avenue, just hours before the conclusion of the men’s race.

The “Women’s Tour de France” will end on July 31 in eastern France at La Super Planche des Belles Filles, a spectacular uphill finish often visited by the men’s Tour.

The eight-stage race aims to become a permanent fixture on the Women’s World Tour calendar. A Tour stage race was held from 1984 to 1989, alongside the men’s edition, before being cut short thereafter. Various other versions were tried but they were generally underfunded.

Online fitness platform Zwift has signed a four-year sponsorship after runners spent years clamoring for a women’s version of the run. Some ran through all stages of the men’s race to raise awareness of the issue until ASO announced the new event.

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