Top female riders have called for a women's Tour de France "to be run in conjunction with the world famous men's version," according to the PA. Britain's former world champion and 2008 Olympic time trial Silver Medalist Emma Pooley "is one of four top riders who published a petition to resurrect the event," which has not been held since '09. The letter to Tour Dir Christian Prudhomme calls for women to be on the starting line of the 101st Tour de France in '14, stating: "Hopefully 30 years from now, we will see 2014 as the year that opened people's eyes to true equality in the sport of cycling." The petition, "which was launched this month by Pooley, Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos, Kathryn Bertine and ironman triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington," had 62,683 signatures by 2pm Monday. British Cycling President Brian Cookson has described a permanent women's Tour as a "great'' idea but feels it might need to be held "over modified distances, modified number of days, and so on" (PA, 7/22).
Events and Attractions
Under-fire Royal & Ancient bosses went into hiding on Monday "to dodge controversial questions on men-only membership and Muirfield’s falling Open attendance," according to McDermott & McLean of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Championship organizers canceled their "traditional Monday morning press conference." One of the questions R&A CEO Peter Dawson would have faced is "over ticket pricing as attendance figures plummeted by 18,559 compared to the last time Muirfield staged The Open" in '02. But it’s "the contentious issue of the single-sex membership policy that prevents women from becoming members of the R&A and Muirfield’s Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers that is understood to be the main reason for dodging the conference" (DAILY RECORD, 7/23).
In October, defending Spanish Basketball League (ACB) champion Real Madrid will head to Beijing for a preseason game against the Chinese league champion Guangdong Southern Tigers and another game against an opponent to be determined. The games will take place in the second week of October, but the "exact dates have not been decided" (MARCA, 7/23). ... India's second-biggest badminton tournament, the India Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow, has been postponed by a month to January by the Badminton World Federation. The tournament, named after the late former India int'l Syed Modi, was originally scheduled for Dec. 17-22 and will now be played Jan. 21-26 (IANS, 7/23). ... National Rugby League South Sydney Rabbitohs fans have "snapped up close to 7,000 tickets for this year's premiership decider." In the first few hours after final tickets went on sale to club members on Tuesday morning, "more than 12,000 seats were booked," with 54% of those hoping the team will be there on Oct. 6 (CANBERRA TIMES, 7/24).