An ex-runner for a new Tour de France

Marion Rousse multiplies the caps in the world of cycling. A former cyclist and consultant for France Télévisions, the 30-year-old Frenchwoman is also the director of the Tour de France Women, which will take place from July 24 to 31. Despite an attempt in 1955, and several editions in the 1980s, marked by the success of Jeannie Longo, the women’s Grande Boucle never managed to become permanent.

“When I was a little girl, I watched the Tour de France on TV with admiration and, when I started my career, I suspected that I was never going to have the opportunity to race it”, reacted Marion Rousse on social networks after his appointment in October. “Runners have felt for too long that they are not legitimate, because they were not participating in the queen event of cycling in France. It’s not a gift we give them, they deserve it, ”she comments today.

A young woman in a family of cyclists

Native of the North, Marion Rousse grew up in a family crazy about cycling. Three of his cousins, Olivier Bonnaire, David and Laurent Lefèvre, were professional runners. His father, a machine driver in public works, took part in amateur competitions. “I followed my father on all the errands, even in a stroller,” she recalls. At 6, the child also wants to ride. His father refuses. She then took her first license, secretly with her mother. “A week later, my dad was with me on my first outing and he never let me go. “His idols of the time are all men. “Of course, I knew Jeannie Longo. But I never saw her run, so I identified more with men,” the runner explained.

A figure of television

Marion Rousse claims to have integrated “naturally” into a very masculine peloton. In 2012, she became champion of France Espoirs and Elite. Crowned with this title, she was invited to the “Kings of the Pedal”, Eurosport’s flagship program. “At the time, I didn’t want to be publicized at all,” she quips. I went there to understand the world of TV. »

A few months later, Guillaume Di Grazia, editor-in-chief of the programme, offered her a job as a consultant for the 2013 Tour of Spain. at the town hall of Etampes because my salary as a sportswoman was not enough. But it was too complicated,” she says. She then retired from sport two years later, at only 25, to devote herself entirely to her television career.

A cycling ambassador

In 2017, Marion Rousse became the first woman to comment on the Grande Boucle on France Télévisions. “I had no room for error. I didn’t want to be the woman we put there just because we need a girl, “says the 30-year-old. Despite her successful conversion and praised by the community, Marion Rousse sometimes remains the target of sexist mockery, especially about her private life. She was the wife of runner Tony Gallopin and today forms a couple for cycling with Julian Alaphilippe, double French world champion. The consultant is used to brushing off these questions and ensures that her private life does not affect the seriousness of her work. It is with the same discipline that she has been working on the organization of the Tour de la Provence since 2019 and the Tour de Savoie Mont-Blanc the following year as deputy director. First convincing experiences.