This year’s Tour de France has the fewest Americans in it since before Lance Armstrong. Johnathan Vaughters is the manager responsible for putting the list of riders together. Three American riders are set to start on Saturday’s three-week race. The race is typically a men’s race.
Andrew Talansky, who was the only American on the list, out of almost 200, for the Cannondale-Garmin team. That is until Tejay van Garderen, and Tyler Farrar were chosen. Farrar, who won the fourth stage of the race in California, is, believe it or not, not the favorite to win. Tarlansky is considered a shoe-in for a podium spot. All three U.S. riders are equally talented for the prestigious race.
Well, if Vaughters wants to find more talented cyclists for his team, then perhaps he should open the door for women cyclists. The Tour de France might be more of an American sport if women are considered more. Women’s sports have always struggled to gain attention and the support of the American public. According to Lindsay Kendra, it is more about money and the typical male attitude about sports. There are talented women cyclists who have the strength and stamina to compete in the Tour de France. For example, Marianne Vos, who is very petite, and yet has a strong will to succeed in women’s cycling. Vos has what it takes to compete in the Tour de France, but it is a male-dominated sport.
Who is to say that women can not be sponsored like the men for thousands of dollars? The New York City Marathon has about as many women as men running in it every year, as does the Boston Marathon. Anyone who knows sports can understand that cycling can not be fairly compared to American Football when it comes to women competing. If someone walked into any exercise gym, they would find a majority of the cycling class is women. Out of the few men in a cycling class, it is the women who are more intense. Although men and women can not compete in the same sports all the time, there is no real evidence that says a woman can not perform as well as a man can in the famous three-week bike race.
The Tour de France has a long history of men cycling through the French countryside, and it was probably the American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who drew the most attention to it for America. He won seven of the famous races, but he used performance-enhancing drugs to do it. Yet only men are considered for one of the toughest cycle races there is. Armstrong is scheduled to make an appearance in the race this year, but, of course, he will not be participating in it from the beginning of it. His days of entering the race are numbered now.
The Tour de France may be more for Americans if the door was open to the possibility of women cyclists. Women should not be discriminated against when it comes to endurance sports such as cycling, swimming, and long distance running. All three of these sports could feature men and women equally as competitors, and if not in the Tour de France with the men, then maybe there should be a Tour de France for women?
Opinion By Katherine Miller-Chichester
Edited By Leigh Haugh
The Washington Post: With Just Three Tour de France Riders, Is American Cycling Spinning Its Wheels?
Photo Courtesy of Jason Parish’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License