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A Women's Tour de France gets a bit closer

It's been an interesting few weeks, following the Le Tour Entier calls for a women's Tour de France to be reinstated. Right now, 73,356 people have signed the petition (and that's increasing all the time) - and there are signs that the ASO may be listening.

The petition was started by Kathryn Bertine, with Emma Pooley, Marianne Vos and Chrissie Wellington, and since then has been gathering momentum fast. There's been lively debate all over the internet about whether the petition is making a mistake in calling for a full race (as opposed to, for example, asking for a one-day race), but I'm firmly in the camp that says it's far better to be ambitious than to be satisfied with, for example, the Tour of California women's invitational ITT.

And it's interesting, because while the ASO started by saying they didn't have any comments to make on the issue, they seem to have changed their tune - according to, "Jean-Etienne Amaury, chairman of the family-owned unit, said executives have discussed the subject":

"We need to work out the right economic model, get the media on board and discuss with public authorities about closing the roads," Amaury said in a phone interview. "All these parameters need to be planned. It’s not likely to happen next year."

This isn't much movement, but it does seem to suggest that the media coverage is making a difference - and it's definitely shown that no matter how many people say "there's no interest", people are really getting behind this. And in the UK, Harriet Harman, a Member of Parliament and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has also written to the ASO, calling for women to be able to race when the Tour comes to the UK next year - and this will gather more interest in the UK at least, especially while the press is basking in the glow of Froome's win.

If you want to know how you can help, sign the petition. Omne blogged about how even if you don't agree with everything the petition says, it's still well worth signing. if you've signed already, share it with anyone you know who might be interested - and tweet the ASO to ask them to meet with the petition organisers (I was interested in the Bloomberg quotes where the ASO claimed they'd had no contact with the LeTourEntier crew, as I know LTE have been in touch!) - you can compose your own tweet, or use this pre-written tweet. And keep clicking through to any articles you see about this, especially in the non-cycling media, as it demonstrates how much of an interest there is.

If you disagree, that's fine too - let's have more conversation in the comments!

For more on the petition, here are some handy links:

(If you want to know why that's really not an issue, I refer you to Marijn de Vries' blog!)