National blood cancer Charity Cure Leukaemia has strengthened their relationship with one of the most iconic cycling events in the world by becoming the first ever Official Charity Partner in the UK of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
As part of the partnership, the charity launched ‘The Route’, which will see up to 25 amateur cyclists ride the full Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift route in 2024, one day ahead of the professional race.
First announced in 2021, the first Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift launched the following year to immense success, clearly demonstrating the significant growth of and demand for female cycling events across the world. The landmark race featured eight stages of racing, with a similar number of stages planned for the 2023 and 2024 editions. There are ambitious plans to expand the race over the coming years. The inaugural edition saw the professional women tackle 1,033km across the eight consecutive days.
Sitting alongside the charity’s flagship event – The Tour 21 – ‘The Route’ will be organised by Cure Leukaemia and will offer female riders the opportunity to live the Route, feel the Route and ride the Route – staying in the same hotels as the pros, receiving official training and event kit from the charity’s official kit supplier, Santini, as well as dedicated physio and mechanical support along the way and rolling road closures throughout the event. This will all be topped off with a 5-star finish to celebrate.
Speaking about the launch of ‘The Route’, Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin said, “We are extremely proud and excited to be the first ever Charity partner in the UK for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Since 2021, we have had the likes of Sarah Hope, Jackie Fowler and Nicole Perry all complete The Tour 21 and this year we have got a further four females taking part, so every year the number of female cyclists is increasing. By launching ‘The Route’, it is the next natural step in offering female cyclists the opportunity to ride the same route as the professionals, whilst further enhancing our partnership with A.S.O.”
Former racing cyclist and current Television Presenter Rebecca Charlton said, “It really is truly staggering how much money has been raised through The Tour 21 and I have spoken with Geoff (Thomas) a number of times over the years and we have always wanted more women involved so the launch of ‘The Route’ is perfect for that. I am excited to work with the Charity as part of the event and help build the profile of female cycling across the Cure Leukaemia community.”
“I follow all of the women that have completed The Tour 21 on social media and frequently see other women saying that they could not go and emulate what the professional riders do for the whole month of the Tour de France. What these women have shown over the years however is that it can be done by amateur riders who lead busy lives! ‘The Route’ offers a different alternative for the female market who don’t feel they want to take on 21 stages, but could target eight stages and I am excited to see the event grow!”
Former professional cyclist and now Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift Director Marion Rousse said, “I am truly thrilled to launch ‘The Route’ together with Cure Leukaemia. ‘The Route’ is yet another example of how the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift inspires generations by further breaking barriers for women in cycling, which is our ambition. I am so proud to see more women riding France routes every summer and even more so when it helps to raise funds for wonderful charities like Cure Leukaemia.”
A.S.O. CEO Yann Le Moenner added, “The collaboration we have with Cure Leukaemia has been so positive that it was obvious that it had to be extended for the coming years to the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. We are really proud to open our events doors to Cure Leukaemia to create more awareness around blood cancer and to support the research.”
Alongside the launch of ‘The Route’, the charity has also announced the three-year extension of their partnership with Amaury Sports Organisation (A.S.O), which will see the Charity continue their status as the Official Charity Partner of the Tour de France in the UK. The extension will also give the charity access to A.S.O’s exciting portfolio of events and official licences.
Over the past three years, the unique partnership has seen Cure Leukaemia’s major cycling event – The Tour 21 – raise over £4.3million with proceeds directly funding the Charity’s Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) Network.
For more information about Cure Leukaemia, go to: www.cureleukaemia.co.uk
For more information about The Route, go to: www.theroute.org.uk
For more information about The Tour 21, go to: https://www.thetour21.co.uk/