THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Marianne Vos has Olympic gold medals and the road race world champion's rainbow jersey in her trophy cabinet. Now she wants the chance to add a yellow jersey.
The Olympic road race champion is among a group of cyclists, including British Olympian Emma Pooley, who have launched an online petition urging Tour de France organizers to let women participate in next year's race.
In an online letter to Tour director Christian Prudhomme, the riders say that after a century "it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too."
A "Tour Feminin" women's race in France that was staged in the past, but not since 2009, "lacked parity, media coverage, and sponsorship" the letter to Prudhomme says.
Pooley won the 2009 race, known as the Grande Boucle Feminine, and Vos placed third.
The riders backing the petition said letting women race in the men's Tour, "will also create an equal opportunity to debunk the myths of physical `limitations' placed upon female athletes."
Vos conceded that getting women into the 2014 Tour may not be realistic, "but we hope to get the ball rolling," she told Dutch daily De Telegraaf.
On Friday, more than 2,200 people had put their names to the petition.
-- Associated Press