Marion Rousse has been waiting for this moment for a year and a half. Since Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France, called her to offer to take the reins of the Tour de France women. At 30, she is finally ready to take up the challenge. “It’s hard to realize. That’s it, it’s here, the Women’s Tour de France! I won’t be there as a cyclist, but I’ll be at the head of this event and it’s a lot of excitement .”
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Excitement but also pressure in the face of the challenge? “I wouldn’t call it pressure because I believe the event should work.”she promises. It’s the experience that speaks: that of commentator of the men’s Tour since 2017, but also that of double champion just ten years ago. Cycling, she was born into it, as she says.
“I started racing at 6 years old. Cycling has shaped my life, my vision of things, what I have become. I owe a lot to cycling.”Marion Rousse
“If, through my role, I can do something for this discipline, I do it 100% and that’s what I’m doing”she adds.
This departure, she waited impatiently counting “the days, the hours”. “With the route we have concocted for you, don’t worry, you are going to enjoy it!”she assures, highlighting a plot that “has nothing to envy to the course of men”. She enumerates as follows: “We can see a sprinter being crowned today on the Champs Élysées, iThere will be stages for punchers, a somewhat classic stage at the Chemins Blancs and a finish in Bar-sur-Aube, and then the final weekend with high mountains and the finish at the top of this brutal climb of the Super Planche beautiful girls”.
“We want to show, through these eight days of racing, that girls on a bike, it sends!”Marion Rousse
The France Télévisions bicycle consultant also praises the changes made in recent years by the international federation to the “women’s cycling”and the professionalization of runners: “We have as much fun commenting on the girls as the men because there is spectacle and, sportingly speaking, it is coherent.” And this Tour has not yet started that it already arouses a lot of enthusiasm: “I’m already receiving CVs from mayors who tell me ‘I’m applying for the women’s Tour de France to come to my town in the next few years!’ she rejoices.
Marion Rousse is proud to finally see her sport evolve, she who had to end her career at the age of only 24, for lack of a decent salary. “I stopped because I was not paid, she explains, and the bills had to be paid at the end of the month. That’s what made me turn the page on cycling very early on.” But she does not regret: “It’s my life journey, and I think to be at the helm of this event is exceptional.” One of its objectives today is to “creating vocations” and allow little girls to dream of becoming a professional runner.
“We really want to give vocations to the little girls that I was, who watched the Tour de France on TV or by the side of the road, and who ultimately could only identify with men!”Marion Rousse
“How many times have I taken my bike after the stages? I felt like Tom Boonen, and I was super proud. This is a great novelty for us: all these little girls will be able to identify with all the champions of the Tour de France.” At present, at the start of this Tour, women represent only 10% of members of the French Cycling Federation.