Women cyclists petition to compete in Tour de France

By Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com

Dutch rider Marianne Vos is a two-time World Road Race Champion. (USATSI)
Dutch rider Marianne Vos is a two-time World Road Race Champion. (USATSI)

Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos is leading a campaign to let women compete in next year's Tour de France, the Associated Press reports.

Vos and British Olympian Emma Pooley are among a group of cyclists who sent a letter to Tour director Christian Prudhomme saying that, after a century, “it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too.” The riders said letting women in “will also create an equal opportunity to debunk the myths of physical ‘limitations' placed upon female athletes,” according to the AP.

As of Friday, more than 2,200 people had signed an online petition supporting the change.

There was a “Tour Feminin” women's race in France, but it hasn't been staged since 2009. The letter to Prudhomme says it “lacked parity, media coverage and sponsorship.” Pooley won the 2009 race, and Vos finished third, the AP reported.

This year's Tour de France runs through July 21.

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