Double Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott has urged her counterparts to rethink plans for a women’s Tour de France – and to instead focus on developing existing races.
A petition for a women’s Tour de France has amassed more than 77,000 signatures, while UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson has set up a meeting between its leading supporters, including Marianne Vos and Emma Pooley, and Tour organisers.
But Trott, in her debut season with the new Wiggle-Honda team, believes wider coverage of existing races is initially the way forward.
“I just feel that we need to be grateful for what we do have at the minute, and work on making that better before we start throwing other stuff in,” Trott told RoadCyclingUK.
“I would rather see the current women’s road racing on the telly first. I like that the British nationals were televised and I think that is a great starting point.
“I think if we can get that for races like the women’s Giro, then that is a great start.”
British Cycling president Cookson, who is hoping to replace Pat McQuaid as president of the UCI, announced on Friday there is to be a women’s equivalent of the Tour of Britain from 2014, offering an international five-day stage race.
We need to work on making what we have better before we start throwing other stuff in
Cookson says the race is an example of the changes he wants to implement across the board if he is elected to the UCI presidency and the 62-year-old has vowed to change the ‘essential economics’ of women’s cycling by introducing a guaranteed minimum wage.
Trott, however, has preached caution against widespread changes to the women’s road cycling programme.
“I think we should have [a women’s Tour de France], for sure,” she added. “But like I have already said I don’t want it to be instead of other races.
“We already have a lot of loyal sponsors at races, I think it would be a step backwards to upset them and replace them with different races.”
It is now almost exactly a year since Trott, already a world champion before the Games, was propelled to national stardom by her performances in the Olympic velodrome, winning omnium and team pursuit gold.
And Trott, who last month collected an OBE for her achievements, says she is comfortable with her new-found fame as she builds towards next year’s World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
She said: “It’s had a massive impact on my life. People know me a lot more now so I get stopped more than I used to.
“I got to do a lot of fun things after the Games as well, which was great fun. I don’t mind the extra attention at all. I feel quite comfy in front of the camera so it doesn’t bother me, the only problem I have is fitting them all in.
The Olympics have had a massive impact on my life but I’m comfy in front of a camera. I don’t mind the extra attention at all
“My next big target, I guess, is the World Championships next year. There’s not really anything other than World Cups in the middle and they’re just about qualifying for the worlds. I would love to do both track and road at the Commonwealth Games.”
Trott also paid tribute to British Cycling performance director Sir Dave Brailsford, credited as the man behind the extraordinary success of 2012 and the Team Sky supremo who managed Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins to Tour de France success.
“He is the brains behind it all,” she added. “There’s not a decision made that he isn’t involved in.
“It must be a stressful job. I wouldn’t like to do it that’s for sure. But hey, two British [Tour de France] winners in two years – when he said we would have one in the next five years people basically laughed!”
Track sensation Trott joined her world record-breaking team pursuit compatriots Dani King and Jo Rowsell in moving to Wiggle-Honda in the summer and was last month crowned national under-23 road race champion.
And the 21-year-old, who will be riding the Ride with Brad sportive alongside her Wiggle-Honda team mates and Sir Bradley Wiggins on August 11, has enjoyed her debut season with the British-based team.
“I wanted to do a bit more on the road this year and Wiggle-Honda could give me this,” she explained.
Wiggle-Honda is a really fun, but professional, team. I wanted to do more on the road this year and they could give me this
“They also let me step away when I need to do track blocks as well which is important to me but the main thing is it’s a really fun, but professional, team.
“I haven’t done as much road as I wanted to do this year because the UCI threw in the qualifying rule, which has pulled me away a bit.
“But for the races I have done, I have really enjoyed working with the team and tried to help on the road as much as possible.”
Laura Trott is riding the Ride with Brad sportive on August 11 alongside her Wiggle-Honda team-mates and Sir Bradley Wiggins: www.ridewithbrad.com