The women's Tour de France (TDF) will be revived next year and Christian Prudhomme, cycling director at Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), said he hoped the race would survive him.
The women's Tour has not been held since 1989 and will this year start from Paris and end eight days later at the top of the Super Planche des Belles Filles climb at the end of an eight-stage ride through eastern France.
"It's a balanced route, that will suit several types of riders," Marion Rousse, who was announced as the race director last week, told reporters.
Rousse is a former French national champion and said she wanted to race in a women's TDF since was little. "When I was a little girl, I watched the Tour de France on television with admiration, and when I started my career, I suspected that I would never have the opportunity to race in it.
"So of course, I was very proud to be asked to take charge of the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift, especially because we want to do our utmost to make it a dream for little girls to participate."
😃@Roussemarion appointed director of the #TDFF avec @GoZwift.— Le Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (@LeTourFemmes) October 10, 2021
She will announce the 8 stages of the 2022 edition next Thursday at the Palais des Congrès.
🎙 "I intend on giving my all to ensure that this race becomes a ritual of the public, and for a long time"
📸David Marvier pic.twitter.com/WaKCeGWpIt
Prudhomme, who is the men's Tour director, said the biggest challenge was to make the race a financially sustainable event.
"If it had been [sustainable], the women's Tour would have been held for 40 years," he told reporters on Thursday ahead of a presentation ceremony for the 2022 men's and women's Tours.
"The biggest challenge is to broadcast the race. I think we've done a good job, with the race starting the same day as the men's race ends in Paris," Prudhomme said, adding the event would be broadcast in 170 countries.
The men's race is broadcast in about 190 countries.
While more than 300 towns apply and pay to host a stage of the men's Tour every year, Prudhomme had to approach candidates himself for the women's race.
"But they are all paying an entry fee and to give you an element of comparison, it's more than for [the week-long men's stage races] Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine," he added.
"The goal is to organise a race that will stay, that will still exist in 100 years, that I can watch when I'm old and using a walker," the 60-year-old Prudhomme said.
The 2022 women's Tour will run from July 24-31, starting two weeks after the end of the longest women's race on the calendar, the Giro Donne (July 1-10), and on the final day of the men's TDF.
Double Tour champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia, who will be defending his men's title, is very interested in the event.
"Probably when I finish my Tour, I'm going in a camper to see the women's Tour," he said. "It's a historic moment for cycling, it's going to be a great event."
"It's a big step to have this race. It's a dream come true," French champion Evita Muzic added.
"When I was young I would watch the boys ride the Tour and now it's going to be little girls watching girls take part in the Tour."
Stage guide (total distance: 1,029km):
July 24. Stage 1 - Paris Tour Eiffel - Champs Elysees, 82km
July 25. Stage 2 - Meaux - Provins, 135km
July 26. Stage 3 - Reims - Epernay, 133km
July 27. Stage 4 - Troyes - Bar sur Aube, 126km
July 28. Stage 5 - Bar le Duc - St Die des Vosges, 175km
July 29. Stage 6 - St Die des Vosges - Rosheim, 128km
July 30. Stage 7 - Selestat - Le Markstein, 127km
July 31. Stage 8 - Lure - La Super Planche des Belles Filles, 123km.