The start of the Tour de France has few spectators. However, Tamara Danilov came specially from Berlin. She is a bike messenger, bike enthusiast and psychology student. And she has a concern. “Girls just wanna race, too” she wrote on an empty pizza box and took it to the Grand Depart in Nice. La Course took place there on Saturday, the women’s race that the tour organizer ASO has been organizing since 2014 in conjunction with the men’s Tour de France. But the women’s race usually only lasts a day or two. This year it was already over at the beginning, the British Elizabeth Deignan pushed past last year’s winner Marianne Vos in the sprint and won.
That is not enough for Danilov. »We want a real Tour de France for women, as many stages as the men, on the same day, only with a staggered start. And with the same fans on the track and the same television presence, ”she says. World Federation President David Lappartient has announced a stage race in France, a Tour de France for women, for 2022. “You will probably do a few more stages than now, but certainly not the full program,” Danilov remains skeptical. And that’s why she protests, together with her friend Dennis, also a bicycle courier and trained bicycle mechanic.
Her latest success gave her tailwind: In May 2019, female cyclists around Danilov started a petition to abolish the podium girls. These are models who hand the winners flowers and press their lips on their cheeks. Women as staffage, as usual at trade fairs and other events of this kind. They should present their bodies and smile, that’s it. The women on the podium at the tour were even contractually prohibited from talking to the drivers. Not everyone adhered to it. There have also been marriages between professional cyclists and hostesses.
Danilov rightly considers this to be antiquated. The trigger for their commitment was the Berlin six-day race. “We were there often. And it bothered us that it was organized like an event for old sacks, with podium girls here too. We thought that didn’t fit in with such a modern and open city. We wanted to start a petition to the organizer of the six-day race first. But then we thought, why not start with the greatest race in the world? If they get rid of their podium girls, all other races will be based on them, «Danilov describes the beginnings.
The campaign found many supporters. After the 2019 tour, the group also visited the ASO in their Paris headquarters. “You told us that Christian Prudhomme was coming. But he didn’t come out of his office after all, ”says Danilov.
Nevertheless, the campaign worked. Ten days before the start of the tour, the ASO announced that in future the award ceremonies will be held by one man and one woman each. “It was a surprising success. We are very happy, «says Danilov. Until there is a Tour de France for women, she wants to keep applying pressure. Just not in Nice anymore. On Sunday she gets on her bike herself. A trip on the Mediterranean coast to Genoa is on the program.