The Tour de France will have a women's event in 2022 & cyclist Sarah Gigante wants a spot

The Tour de France will have a women’s event in 2022 & cyclist Sarah Gigante wants a spot

Sarah Gigante

Growing up as a competitive cyclist, Sarah Gigante never thought she’d ride in the Tour de France. It wasn’t because she thought she wasn’t good enough to compete with the best in the world, but simply because there was no women’s event.

“I would be at school and my friends would ask if I wanted to end up doing the Tour de France one day. And I’d always have to say ‘no, the Tour de France is only for men, women can’t race in it’,” Gigante told Women’s Agenda.

But that’s all about to change with the Tour de France Femmes due to take place in July next year. The women’s event, part of a four-year partnership with online fitness platform Zwift, will start at the iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris, on the same day the men’s race finishes.

21-year-old Gigante has signed a deal with the Spanish women’s team, Movistar, and will vie for a spot in the Tour de France Femmes. The event is set to propel forward the state of women’s cycling.

When I asked her what impact she thinks the women’s version of the Tour de France will have on progressing equality in the sport, Gigante says, “I think it changes everything, really”.

“It’s so cool that for little girls who get asked that question now, they will be able to ‘yes’,” she said. “Just thinking about the girls and boys sitting on the couch, seeing women and men racing, that’s really important.”

Gigante remembers watching Australian cycling legend Cadel Evans win the Tour de France back in 2011, but notes she always felt more connected when she watched Anna Meares at the Olympics.

“It’s always good to be able to picture yourself doing something,” Gigante says. “I’m excited just to think the chance is there.”

“Taking away my personal ambitions, or the team’s goals, it’s going to be cool to watch women racing in the Tour de France. That’s going to be my highlight.”

Last year, Gigante took part in her first ever Olympic Games, competing for Australia in Tokyo. She says it was a childhood dream come true and that it felt surreal simply to be there – especially considering she had just recovered from multiple broken bones she had sustained during a cycling crash.

“That’s the coolest part about the Olympics, it’s the number one race or competition you could go to. I was just so stoked the be able to turn up. Of course, you care so much about how it goes, but no matter how it goes you’re stoked just because you’re there.”

Sarah Gigante in Tokyo

Gigante has a big 2022 ahead of her. She’ll be heading to Spain in January for her team’s training camp and will get to meet her teammates there.

She’s also excited to have a chance to be part of history.

“More and more of our races are getting broadcasted and it’s in the media a bit more. It’s still a niche audience though. The Tour de France is another event, like the Olympics, that you don’t have to be an avid fan of women’s cycling to know that it’s immense.”

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