"The actual trajectory of the sponsorship and the media has not necessarily been in our favor because we haven't had the same opportunities for exposure," said Bertine. "But now the women are speaking up and speaking out saying 'We're here too and we want our time to shine.'"
It wasn't always like this. Even after the Tour de France stopped hosting concurrent races in 1989, it held a separate women's race as recent as 2009. However, that race disappeared thanks to a lack of sponsorship. Bertine is hoping sponsors start to take notice on Sunday.
"We feel that the women should be at the pinnacle event in cycling," said Bertine. "We targeted the Tour de France because that's the race that everybody knows regardless of their knowledge of cycling itself."
Bertine, whose documentary "Half The Road" chronicles the struggle of women cyclists, will be one of the 120 women competing in La Course. She will wear the orange and black jersey of her new team, Wiggle Honda. She will soak in the moment. And then she will ride.
"It's a real moment for me to be here and get to race this event," said Bertine.
It's a moment for the history books as well, one that could pave a whole new road for women cyclists everywhere.
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