DOLE, FRANCE — For cyclists who believe the prestige and opportunity of the Tour de France should be available to women as well as men, 1992 may be their year.
This summer the organizers of the Tour de France will hold the Women's Tour of the European Community (EC), starting in the country of Andorra on Sept. 9 and passing through Spain and France before ending in Italy on Sept. 19.
Europe's women cyclists will also ride in the first Women's Cycling Tour, running through France from Paris on Aug. 13 to Alpe d'Huez in the Alps on Aug. 23.
A women's race ran simultaneously with the Tour de France through part of the 1980s, but the competition was dropped as the men's tour grew to require all available lodging and other support facilities in the small cities where it stops.
A first prize of $64,000 will go to the winner of the EC tour; the Tour de France winner will take home $400,000.