Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme criticized a politician's request to consider adding a woman's event to the legendary race, telling the BBC it would have been better for British Labour Leader Harriet Harman to wait for another time to bring it up.

Harman wrote him an open letter to him, and apparently Prudhomme didn't appreciate being put on the spot like that.

"It would have been better for Harman to talk to us at the end of one of the stages or after another race," he told the BBC. "The Tour is huge and you cannot have it bigger and bigger and bigger down the road - it is impossible."

According to the BBC, he later added "We are open to everything. Having women's races is very important for sure."

The kerfuffle comes two weeks after a group of female cyclists began a petition requesting that a woman's division be added to the race. So far, it has garnered more than 79,000 signatures.

A woman's version of the Tour de France has been held sporadically in past years, but has not been run since 2009, largely due to a lack of sponsors, The Guardian points out.

In her letter to Prudhomme, Harman wrote, according to the Guardian: "Britain has some of the best women cyclists in the world -- but for years they had to compete for foreign teams as there was no investment in an elite women's team.

"Overall, women's sport misses out compared to men's sport: women's sport only receives 0.5% of total sports sponsorship in the UK and only 4% of sports coverage in national and local newspapers is dedicated to women's sport.

"The Grand Départ being held in Yorkshire and from Cambridge to London in 2014 presents a great opportunity to hold a women's event and set an example to the rest of Europe and Le Tour. After the success of the Olympics, women's cycling should not be allowed to slip back into the shadows."

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