VAISON-LA-ROMAINE, France (AP) — Swatting the air dismissively with the back of his hand, the Tour de France's director says he has nothing to tell a group of female cyclists hoping to ride in their version of the sport's greatest race.

Before the start of Tuesday's 16th stage, Christian Prudhomme brushed off a question about an online letter and petition.

The signatories don't seek to have women race against men, but to have a professional women's field racing in parallel over the same distances, on the same days, and with an organization such that the two races don't conflict.

Prudhomme told The Associated Press in the southeastern town of Vaison-la-Romaine that "we are saying nothing for the moment." He then walked away.