Trott: Don't rush into Tour
Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott has warned the sport not to rush into establishing a full-blown women's Tour de France.
There are growing calls to re-introduce a women's version of cycling's blue riband event and a petition was launched this summer by a group of prominent female riders.
Yet Trott is unsure whether the popular idea of running a women's race simultaneous to the men's event would work effectively.
She would like to see the existing women's races grown more and then a Tour de France introduced gradually.
Trott, who splits her schedule between track and road cycling, said: "I do think it would be good if we get a women's Tour but they need to go about it the right way.
"The petition put out was to have it for three weeks, run at exactly the same distances and same times as the men.
"I just don't think you can do that. You could end up ruining quite a lot of the sport.
"You have sponsors that turn up week in, week out; year in, year out and run races during that three-week period.
"They would just pull out because nobody would turn up if there was a Tour on. We should slowly build it up.
"The men have two rest days - so have two one-day stage races on those rest days. Finish one up the Alpe d'Huez and one in Paris.
"I think that is a better way of doing it.
"The men's Tour de France 25 years ago was nowhere near as big as it is now.
"So you have to push people into it slowly, not force it on them."
Trott, 21, was speaking in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, after participating in the 'Ride With Brad' cyclosportive.
The mass-participation public event was organised by the Bradley Wiggins Foundation, which supports people involved in sport from grass-roots to elite level, including Trott's Wiggle-Honda team.
Trott helped fuel cycling's growing popularity with her gold medal successes in the omnium and team pursuit at the London 2012 Olympics.
She hopes the sport, and especially the women's events, continue to grow.
She said: "It is good that there is a Tour of Britain in May next year.
"There are not a lot of races in May and that could get good coverage.
"We need the races we already have on TV to get people interested and then you can grow from there."
Trott's Wiggle-Honda team-mate Dani King - also a member of the victorious Olympic team pursuit team - believes women's cycling has the potential to enjoy a much bigger profile.
The 22-year-old said: "We are not going to get it straight away but as time goes on, hopefully, with more coverage that can happen.
"I would definitely like to see a women's Tour de France in the future but we have got some fantastic races at the moment with some good sponsors.
"It is important to keep those going because they have been really successful, running alongside the men.
"But, potentially, a Tour de France for the women would be a good aim for the future."