Podium boys and equal prize money for women’s race at Tour de France finale in Paris
Live TV coverage in more than 100 countries, Vos and Armiststead among those battling for €22,500 payday
The woman who this July wins the inaugural edition of La Course – the race ASO have launched to coincide with the climax in Paris of the Tour de France – will receive kisses from podium boys, as well as the same prize money as the man who wins the final stage of the Tour several hours later.
The 90-kilometre race will feature 120 riders, with world and Olympic champion Marianne Vos and London 2012 silver medallist and current World Cup leader Lizzie Armitstead among those targeting victory – and with it, prize money of €22,500.
Covering 13 laps of the same Champs-Elysées circuit that will host the finale of the Tour in the evening, the event is set to enjoy two hours of live TV coverage in more than 100 countries around the world, reports the Guardian.
ASO says that it will result in be the biggest exposure women’s road cycling has ever had outside the Olympic Games, something that could attract more sponsors to the sport which exists on a shoestring budget compared to the male version
In a statement, ASO said: "Those who make it on to the podium can look forward to kisses from podium boys!"
The race was announced earlier this year following the Le Tour Entier campaign launched in 2013 by cyclists including Vos and former world time trial champion Emma Pooley, who this month revealed that she was earning more in prize money from her “hobby” sports of triathlon and marathon running than she ever had from cycling.
Vos, who was named patron of the race at its official launch in Paris yesterday, said: "We need a showcase and one has been provided for us. I'm delighted that Amaury Sport Organisation have understood and provided what we need."
Armitstead is currently the runaway leader of the UCI Women World Cup standings, having won one and finished second in three of the four races so far held in the nine-race series.
However, the Boels-Dolmans rider, the current British national road champion, said this week in an interview published on thetour.co.uk ahead of next month’s inaugural edition of the Women’s Tour that the World Cup is not her priority this season.
"It funny how it goes but the World Cup itself wasn't really a target at all, although we had our eyes on one of two of the races in particular, and yet it has gone very well so far,” she explained.
“The Commonwealth Games and the World Championships are strong personal goals this season the Women's Tour and the La Course one day race on the last day of the Tour de France, which finishes on the Champs Elysees, are going to be very big and high profile events for my team Boels Dolmans.
"There are no plans yet to change my programme so I will race an abbreviated World Cup schedule and if that is enough to win the title, all well and good.
"I certainly won't be going to China, which starts just a couple of days after the Women's Tour which became a big priority for me as soon as it was announced and then I will definitely miss another round when the Commonwealth Games are on. The road race in Glasgow is a big target although racing in La Course will rule out any track racing
She added: "I've been pretty vocal in my support for women's cycling being treated properly and on an equal footing with the men so obviously am very excited about the Women's Tour. I am totally behind what the organisers are doing and the ethics behind the race if you like but as we get closer, being a racer, my focus is simply on the race itself and how we can perform best as a team.”