We have the first ever women's Tour de France champion from 1984, Marianne Martin joining us today. We will be talking about the 1984 Women's Tour de France, women's racing today, her thoughts on growing women's cycling, and what this former cycling champ is up to today.
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In Today's Show
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Feature Interview with Marianne Martin
1984 marked the first-time both a woman and a man stood on the podium as winners of the Tour de France together. It was Laurent Fignon who won the men’s race and it is was the American rider Marianne Martin who won the women’s title. Moreover, that it was the inaugural edition of the women’s French Grand Tour called the Tour de France Féminin. It was a 1,083 kilometer, 18 stage race that ran concurrent with the men’s event.
The Dutch national team was heavily favored, with its leader Heleen Hage featuring prominently as the race’s likely winner. Little did anyone expect that an underdog American team with an unknown rider by the name of Martin would triumph.
Martin continued her strong ascending and captured the malliot jaune (yellow jersey) after the 14th stage and never looked back. Martin lead the Tour de France Féminin into Paris, marking the first and last time an American would stand on the top step of the podium.
Let's get into our interview with Marianne Martin!
Post interview discussion:
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Didn't know anything about racing
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From 1984 to 1989, the Tour de France Women was the curtain raising event for the men's event. It was organised by the Tour de France Society, organiser of the men's Tour de France. In 1990, the event changed its name and format, becoming the Tour of the EEC Women, which ran until 1993.
In 1992, a new race was created, the Tour cycliste féminin, organised in August by Pierre Boué. The race lacked stable sponsorship and with the location of stages determined by locations willing to contribute, there were long transfers between stages. Until 1998, it was the Tour Cycliste Féminin, but the Société du Tour de France, organizers of the men's Tour de France, said that infringed their trademark and in 1999 the name was changed. It resumed under the name Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale, but was not held in 2004 because of organisational difficulties. It returned, smaller, in 2005. The previous tours were 10 to 15 stages; later ones had five and stayed in one region. The race also received a lower classification by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and had a reduced field. In 2008, the race was six days and seven stages. However, in 2009 the race was only four days long with only 66 riders, after a planned race start and three stages in Britain fell through, leading winner Emma Pooley to joke that the race was "more of a Petite Boucle than Grande." The race was discontinued after 2009.
France was left with no major women's stage race after the Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Féminin and the Route de France Féminine finished in 2010 and 2016 respectively. For the last few years the race turned into a 1 day event titled La Course (La Course by Le Tour de France 2021 (cyclingnews.com)).
In 2022, the race is to return, with eight stages. Zwift will be the main sponsor.
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Julian Alaphilippe has said that he is keen to go for the overall at the Tour de France before he retires saying "I don’t want to end my time with the regret of not ever trying." The two-time world champion, Alaphilippe has had yet another exceptional season with the Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider securing a second world title as well as wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour for a third year in a row.
But now Alaphilippe is looking to pick and choose his goals for the upcoming seasons, including the Tour overall title. When being asked about trying to win the Tour, which he so nearly did in 2019, "Never say never," was the answer.
"Why not think about it before the end of my career?" he continued. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and I’d need to speak to the team. But I don’t want to end my time with the regret of not ever trying."
In 2019 Alaphilippe led the race for 14 days, only losing the jersey twice, once to Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) - who took the jersey from the breakaway on stage six to the top of the Super Planche des Belles Filles before ceding it back to Alaphilippe two days later - and finally to Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) after the Colombian attacked solo on the Col de l'Iseran on stage 19. On that day the general classification times were taken at the top of the Iseran due to mudslides and extreme weather, which forced the race to be stopped before the final climb to Tignes.
"I’ve never raced a Grand Tour thinking of winning it," Alaphilippe said, "so there wasn’t the same pressure. But I can understand why it’s been difficult for [Thibaut] Pinot and [Romain] Bardet," Alaphilippe said.
List of all men's winners of the Tour de France
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