To “compete” means “to strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.” In order to compete, you have to be competitive. Women are now asking to be allowed to compete in the Tour de France, the world’s biggest cycling race, but they shouldn’t be allowed to because they wouldn’t be competitive.
Just to give you an idea of how men and women stack up in the cycling world, let’s look at the 2012 Summer Olympics road race, which is separated by gender. The men’s race is 250 km (155.3 miles) in length compared to 140.3 km (87.2 miles) for the women. If we want to convert the women’s finish times to a number comparable to the men’s, we simply multiply by 1.78. For those that aren’t following, 250 km divided by 140.3 km is 1.78.
The gold medal winner for the women, Marianne Vos, finished the road race in 3:35:31, which for calculation purposes is 3.59 hours. The last place finisher for the men, Chris Froome, had a time of 5:58:24, which for calculation purposes is 5.97 hours. We then multiple Vos’ time by 1.78 to see where she would’ve stacked up in the men’s road race, and we get 6.39 hours, which is six hours, 23 minutes, and an undetermined number of seconds because I got lazy.
Basically, at the pace that Vos cycled in a shorter race, she would have finished nearly 25 minutes behind the last place finished of the men’s road race. Now, this isn’t an exact science, and there are other factors that should be taken into consideration here, but the point is that even the top woman cyclist in the world can’t compete with the worst men’s cyclist.
And that’s just in a six-hour race. Imagine what the skew in times would look like in a race that’s nearly 3,500 km long and takes place over three weeks. The women would finish multiple hours behind the men. The final results would have a long list of men, a five-hour gap, and then the women finishers. They’d essentially be having their own race, which they did in France until it was cancelled in 2009 because it didn’t get very much viewership or media coverage.
There are sports where women are competitive and equally as fun to watch as men. Tennis is one example. Volleyball is another. But look at what’s happened with basketball in the United States. It’s a shocker that the WNBA still exists.
Forcing women into the Tour de France would be a mistake, and now you know why. #SorryNotSorry, Marianna Vos.