Can women save the Tour de France?
The race covers 2000 miles and takes 23 days, winding along country roads, through city streets, and up tortuous mountain passes. The rider with the lowest aggregate time is the overall winner, although there are team prizes as well. But the world’s premier cycling event is reeling. Between 1995 and 2010 only one winner wasn’t linked to doping, which is affecting its popularity.
Thirty years ago Tour organizers included a parallel women’s Tour, using the same finish lines, but the event was cancelled after five years. Women’s sports have come a long way since the ‘80s, however. Many female athletic events attract a larger male than female audience. And doping scandals are rare among women.
Other endurance sports, like marathon or triathlon, have women’s divisions at the elite level. The hope here is that stars will emerge that can bring in additional viewers—as has happened in tennis and golf. With all the scandals, the sport needs help.
It wouldn’t be the first time women have ridden to the rescue.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer