Alison Jones, Canyon COO, competed in the Tour herself in the 90s. As a leading manager in the bike industry, she's excited to see women continue to shake up bike racing and the bike industry.
Within a fraction of a second, speed, sweat and struggle explode into jubilation, triumph and tears of joy behind the finish line. Driven by talent and passion, 15 World Teams and seven UCI Women's Continental Teams, with a total of 154 female athletes, are competing in this year's Tour de France Femmes. Among them are the riders from CANYON//SRAM Racing Team with last year's third-place finisher, Kasia Niewiadoma, the Canyon athletes from FENIX-Deceuninck Cycling Team, as well as the Canyon athletes from Movistar Team Women with last year's winner Annemiek van Vleuten.
From July 23 to 30, the teams are competing in eight stages and 956 tough racing kilometers on their high-speed racing bikes. After a break of more than 30 years, the legendary women's tour is back in the international women's cycling scene for the second time this year, showcasing female pioneers who are writing cycling history, setting an example for future generations and giving women's cycling more visibility.
Women are team players. This makes them particularly strong as a team. – But when it comes to the finish line, they also definitely know how to push the limits and attack. I am incredibly impressed by the strength and pace of the female athletes. The stages are extremely demanding both mentally and physically. To be a champion, you need a lot of endurance and be mentally dynamic.Alison Jones, Chief Operations Officer at Canyon Bicycles, Koblenz (Germany)
Alison Jones also has personal memories of the Tour de France Femmes: In 1991, she herself competed for Team Canada in the French classic. "Eddy Merckx, one of the most successful cycling legends ever, was in Erfurt at the time and presented our team with a rose when finishing first in the prologue. Over the following days, we fought hard on to the next tough stages. Some people were at the track cheering. I don't remember any media coverage from that time."
"The 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift has brought an incredible amount of hard-fought and well-deserved attention to women's cycling," knows Beth Duryea, Co-founder and Marketing Manager of World Team CANYON//SRAM Racing. A recent report published by ZWIFT on the 2022 Tour de France Femmes confirms the largest international coverage and impact ever measured for a women's cycling race: Broadcast to 190 countries and 5 continents with more than 23 million avid cycling fans along the route. Social media posts, reach and engagement for the top 5 women's cycling races increased more than 300 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, thanks to the Tour de France Femmes.
The momentum in women's cycling has noticeably changed in recent years. More visibility for women in cycling is a goal we at CANYON//SRAM Racing have focused on since the team's foundation. After so many years, we are well on our way to breaking down barriers, creating more opportunities for young female riders from different nations and driving change in women's cycling for the better.said Beth Duryea, who has been working in women's cycling since 2008.
On a global scale, however, a cycling gender gap can still be observed. This means that in a large number of countries, significantly more men than women get on bicycles and use them as a means of transport or sports equipment. A few northern European countries – including Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands – are the exception: Here, roughly the same number of women as men ride bicycles. In many other countries, however, significantly fewer women than men use bicycles. The reasons for this are complex: Next to general road safety, acquisition costs and, in some countries, the division of roles between women and men and concerns about urban violence, also play a role.
Still, the history of the bicycle is also a history of the emancipation of women: In her book "Revolutions. How Women Changed the World on Two Wheels" author Hannah Ross describes how women experienced freedom and independence through the bicycle and became pioneers of their time.
„The bicycle has been a true feminist independence machine. Since the beginnings of cycling in the 19th century women have had to overcome much resistance to them riding bikes, it has always been politically charged for us. And in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, women's cycling is still highly controversial, if not outright banned. However, the history of the bicycle is full of strong women and female adventurers who despite opposition and discrimination have become pioneers and icons in the history of cycling.Hannah Ross.
The Tour de France Femmes puts female race cyclists and sports in the spotlight. This is an important step – although, as in other sports, media and public attention lags behind the male races and could be significantly expanded. In women's cycling, just as in the bike industry, there is still work to be done. This view is also shared by Alison Jones, who, as a passionate cyclist and Canyon Chief Operations Officer, has arrived in the bike industry: "Cycling as well as the bike industry and other industries benefit from more women in leadership positions. I'm excited to see how women will continue to shake up bike racing and the bike industry."
- Alison Jones, Canyon COO - Copyright: Canyon Bicycles
- Beth Duryea, CANYON//SRAM Racing - Copyright: Beth Duryea / Tino Pohlmann
- Hannah Ross, author - Copyright: Hannah Ross