Lorena Wiebes of the Netherlands who sprinted to win Sunday in the first leg of the Women’s Tour de France is back after a 33-year absence.
The Team DSM driver excelled in the final 150 meters of the 82 km (51 mi) lap in Paris to beat former Olympic champion Marianne Vos to the finish line on the Champs-Elysees.
Wiebes punched the air to celebrate.
Champion Lotte Kopecky’s tournament in Flanders came in third.
This is the first time since 1989 that a women’s edition of the Tour de France has been held. Tour de France Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) had previously organized La Course, a one-day race held in Paris to coincide with the Men’s Tour.
The first leg starts at the Eiffel Tower and ends on the iconic boulevard, just hours before the men’s race ends.
The “Tour de France Femmes” will conclude on July 31 in eastern France at La Super Planche des Belles Filles, a spectacular uphill finish commonly seen on the Men’s Tour.
The eight-stage race aims to become a permanent fixture in the women’s world cycling calendar. A Tour race ran from 1984 to 1989, running parallel to the men’s version, before it was later shortened. Many other versions have been tried but they are often underfunded.
Online fitness platform Zwift has signed a four-year sponsorship deal after riders spent years calling for a women’s version of the race. A number of people went stage by stage of the men’s race to raise awareness of the issue until ASO announced the new event.