A Tour de France for women will be staged at some point, but not until the sport introduces a minimum wage for female cyclists, according to Yorkshire star Lizzie Armitstead, writes Bernard Ginns.
Speaking at a business event in Leeds, the 25-year-old professional cyclist said a female Tour would take place, but probably not during her career.
Miss Armitstead said: “There’s things that need to come before a three-week Tour de France.
“We don’t have a minimum wage in female cycling. I have team mates that hold down part-time jobs and you can’t expect them to train for the hardest race in the world so there are steps that need to be made before that can happen.”
Miss Armitstead was guest speaker at a lunch hosted by DLA Piper, PwC and Engage Mutual.
She said: “Women’s cycling is a younger sport than the men’s sport. There is still a long way to go in terms of sponsorship, recognition and races, but since London 2012 there has been a huge improvement.”
Miss Armitstead shot to fame after winning the silver medal in the road race at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She won the elite women’s race in the Otley Cycle Races on Wednesday night.
Miss Armitstead described the sacrifices she has made for her career.
“When I’m away from competition and the sport my life is pretty dull. I eat, sleep, train, that’s about it. I sacrifice all sorts of things. Luckily I have an understanding family and they accept that.
“The people that have fallen by the wayside are the people that have gone out for that extra drink or missed that training session.”