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Tour de France Femmes 2023 Preview

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After a promising first running (in its current form) in 2022, the Tour de France Femmes returns for its second edition in 2023. Taking place immediately after the men wrap things up in Paris, the women get their chance to shine on the streets of France once more.

Following her domination of last years’ race, defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten will be looking to go out on a high as she takes on her final edition of the world’s biggest bike race. On the other hand, SD Worx’s Demi Vollering will be aiming to topple the all-conquering queen of women’s cycling before she steps away from competition.

Key Stages

While the 2022 edition was heralded as a major success, there was some criticism surrounding the route being too ‘backloaded’. The organisers have taken this on board and have presented a slightly different format this time around. The race begins with some hilly stages in the heart of the Auvergne – Rhône – Alpes before heading south-west for an ascension of an iconic climb and a date with destiny in Pau.

Here are some of the key stages of this year’s race that I think will have a bearing on how the battle for the yellow jersey will pan out.

Stage One – Clermont-Ferrand – Clermont-Ferrand – 124km – Hilly

There’s no easing into things this year as the first stage will likely see the puncheurs animate proceedings and take the fight to the GC contenders. The day’s finale will see the riders take on the Côte de Durtol. This steep climb should deliver fireworks and provide us with an early indication as to who is feeling good.

Stage Four – Cahors – Rodez – 177km – Hilly

Another undulating day lies in-store on stage four between Cahors and Rodez. The day once again suits puncheurs and Demi Vollering will fancy her chances of taking a stage win following her success in the Ardennes classics earlier in the season.

Stage Seven – Lannemezan – Tourmalet Bagnères-de-Bigorre – 90km – Mountains

The queen stage of the race will see the peloton take on the famous Aspin – Tourmalet double over a course of just 90 kilometres. In a first for the Tour de France Femmes, the riders will head over 2,000 metres above sea level as they reach the summit of the Tourmalet. We’ll get to see who performs and who crumbles when the air gets thinner.

Stage Eight – Pau – Pau – 22km – ITT

A final stage time trial isn’t to everyone’s taste (mine included); however it promises to be an intriguing climax to the race. The parcours suits the specialists in the discipline and should see considerable gaps open up between the GC contenders. It’s a make or break day that could see somebody steal yellow.

The Contenders

Annemiek van Vleuten

The defending champion had a less than encouraging start to her season, however she has since bounced back to win both La Vuelta Femenina and the Giro Donne in typically fantastic fashion. Van Vleuten is aiming to win all three Grand Tours for a second consecutive season, and if she pulls it off it would be a truly legendary exploit.


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Demi Vollering

Second last time around, Demi Vollering is back to try and take her first yellow jersey. After skipping the Giro Donne there is no doubt she’ll be fresher than her rivals, but has she got enough to stop Van Vleuten?

Juliette Labous

The homeland hero took a solid fourth place in 2022 and will be looking to convert that into a podium finish this year. Second place at the Giro Donne was a spectacular result, though at nearly four minutes down to the winner van Vleuten, it is unlikely she’ll challenge for the victory here.


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Kasia Newiadoma

Third place in 2022, Newiadoma is a reliable rider when aiming for the general classification. The Pole doesn’t win very often however, so a replication of her 2022 result is probably the best she can hope for.

Gaia Realini and Elisa Longo – Borghini

The Lidl-Trek duo are a strong pairing that can each challenge for the podium. After taking third overall at the Giro Donne, Realini is the revelation of the season but is yet to be confirmed for the Tour de France Femmes at the time of writing.

Other potential contenders: Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Erica Magnaldi, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Silvia Persico, Évita Muzic

The Sprinters

Lorena Wiebes

The dominant female sprinter of recent times, Wiebes was in fine form at the Giro Donne before pulling out to focus on the TDFF. A crash meant she missed out on green in 2022 and she’ll be desperate to make up for it this time.

Charlotte Kool

Former lead-out rider turned ace sprinter; Kool wasn’t at the Giro Donne. Focussing on the Tour de France Femmes means she’ll be fresh and hungry for success as she targets her first stage win at La Grande Boucle.


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Marianne Vos

Missing out on a stage win at the Giro Donne will have hurt the great Dutchwoman, however two victories at La Vuelta Femenina suggest she can still mix it with the best.

Elisa Balsamo

The former world champion hasn’t won since February and hasn’t raced since May following a crash at the RideLondon Classique. Plenty of question marks lie over her head.

Chiara Consonni

Victory on the final stage of the Giro Donne was arguably the biggest of her career. With Wiebes and Kool both absent that day, it remains to be seen if she can beat the deadly Dutch duo on the biggest stage.

Other sprinters: Maike van der Duin, Lotte Kopecky, Julie de Wilde, Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini

The latest edition of this fabulous event promises to be even better than last years’ and will take place between 23rd – 30th July. If you want to witness the action first hand, ensure you get a cycle travel insurance quote from Pedal Cover before making the trip.


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