Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale

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Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale
Le Grande Boucle Feminine logo.jpg
Race details
TypeStage race
First edition1984 (1984)
Final edition2009 (2009)
First winner Marianne Martin (USA)
Most wins3 riders with 3 wins
Final winner Emma Pooley (GBR)

The Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale, formerly known as the Tour Cycliste Féminin, was one of the Grand Tours of women's cycle races. Grande Boucle means "big loop" and describes the individual stages which form a circuit around France.


From 1984 to 1989, the Tour de France Women was the curtain raising event for the men's event. It was organised by the Tour de France Society, organiser of the men's Tour de France. In 1990, the event changed its name and format, becoming the Tour of the EEC Women, which ran until 1993.[1]

In 1992, a new race was created, the Tour cycliste féminine, organised in August by Pierre Boué. In 1998 the event name was changed to the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale; the use of Tour was prohibited due to it being the intellectual property of the Société du Tour de France.[2]

The organizers had to scramble for sponsorship nearly every year and were forced to schedule stages in cities which contributed money, regardless of their location. As a result, there were long transfers between the finish of one stage and the start of the next. Another problem in the mid-1990s involved the name. Until 1998, it was the Tour Cycliste Féminin, but the Société du Tour de France, organizers of the men's Tour de France, said that infringed their trademark and in 1999 the name was changed.[3]

In 2004, the race could not be held because of organisational difficulties. It returned, smaller, in 2005. The previous tours were 10 to 15 stages; later ones had five and stayed in one region. The race also received a lower classification by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and had a reduced field. In 2008, the race was six days and seven stages. However, in 2009 the race was only four days long with only 66 riders, after a planned race start and three stages in Britain fell through, leading winner Emma Pooley to joke that the race was "more of a Petite Boucle than Grande."[4][5] The race was discontinued after 2009.

With the subsequent termination of the 10-stage Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Féminin after 2010, the major women's stage race in France became the Route de France Féminine. This was also canceled in 2011, leaving France without a major women's stage race for the first time since the mid-1980s,[6] but returned from 2012.

List of top three riders in general classification[edit]

Year Distance
NoS First Second Third
Tour de France Women
1984 1066.45  Marianne Martin (USA)  Heleen Hage (NED)  Deborah Shumway (USA)
1985 1230.5  Maria Canins (ITA)  Jeannie Longo (FRA)  Cécile Odin (FRA)
1986 996.1  Maria Canins (ITA) (2)  Jeannie Longo (FRA)  Inga Thompson (USA)
1987 975  Jeannie Longo (FRA)  Maria Canins (ITA)  Ute Enzenauer (FRG)
1988 ?  Jeannie Longo (FRA) (2)  Maria Canins (ITA)  Elizabeth Hepple (AUS)
1989 787  Jeannie Longo (FRA) (3)  Maria Canins (ITA)  Inga Thompson (USA)
Tour of the EEC Women
1990 ?  Catherine Marsal (FRA)  Leontien van Moorsel (NED)  Astrid Schop (NED)
1991 ?  Astrid Schop (NED)  Jeannie Longo (FRA)  Roberta Bonanomi (ITA)
1992 ?  Leontien van Moorsel (NED)  Heidi Van de Vijver (BEL)  Roberta Bonanomi (ITA)
1993 ?  Heidi Van de Vijver (BEL)  Leontien van Moorsel (NED)  Aleksandra Koliaseva (RUS)
Year Distance
NoS First Second Third
Tour Cycliste Féminin
1992 805.5  Leontien van Moorsel (NED)  Jeannie Longo (FRA)  Heidi Van De Vijver (BEL)
1993 1183.1  Leontien van Moorsel (NED) (2)  Marion Clignet (FRA)  Heidi Van De Vijver (BEL)
1994 1300  Valentina Polkhanova (RUS)  Rasa Polikevičiūtė (LTU)  Cécile Odin (FRA)
1995 ?  Fabiana Luperini (ITA)  Jeannie Longo (FRA)  Luzia Zberg (SUI)
1996 1238  Fabiana Luperini (ITA) (2)  Rasa Polikevičiūtė (LTU)  Jeannie Longo (FRA)
1997 1156.3  Fabiana Luperini (ITA) (3)  Barbara Heeb (SUI)  Linda Jackson (CAN)
Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale
1998 1392  Edita Pučinskaitė (LTU)  Fabiana Luperini (ITA)  Alessandra Cappellotto (ITA)
1999 1581.4  Diana Žiliūtė (LTU)  Valentina Polkhanova (RUS)  Edita Pučinskaitė (LTU)
2000 1456.2  Joane Somarriba (ESP)  Edita Pučinskaitė (LTU)  Geraldine Loewenguth (FRA)
2001 1559.7  Joane Somarriba (ESP) (2)  Fabiana Luperini (ITA)  Judith Arndt (GER)
2002 1568.9  Zinaida Stahurskaia (BLR)  Susanne Ljungskog (SWE)  Joane Somarriba (ESP)
2003 1302.8  Joane Somarriba (ESP) (3)  Nicole Brändli (SUI)  Judith Arndt (GER)
2004 Race not held
2005 411.7  Priska Doppman (SUI)  Edwige Pitel (FRA)  Christiane Soeder (AUT)
2006 467.4  Nicole Cooke (GBR)  Maryline Salvetat (FRA)  Tatsiana Sharakova (BLR)
2007 404.5  Nicole Cooke (GBR) (2)  Priska Doppmann (SUI)  Emma Pooley (GBR)
2008 556.9  Christiane Soeder (AUT)  Karin Thürig (SUI)  Nicole Cooke (GBR)
2009 306.5  Emma Pooley (GBR)  Christiane Soeder (AUT)  Marianne Vos (NED)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Dauncey, Hugh (2012). French Cycling: A Social and Cultural History. Liverpool University Press. pp. 212–213. ISBN 9781846318351.
  4. ^ Hedwig Kröner (2008-08-08). "2009 Grande Boucle Féminine starts in Britain". Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  5. ^ Simon Richardson (2009-06-19). "Pooley wins first stage of Grande Boucle". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  6. ^ "Route de France féminine : ce sera pour 2012? (in French)". L'est Eclair. May 22, 2011. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-27.

Further reading[edit]