Tour de France Femmes
This year marks the first year of the Tour de France Femmes. It took place from July 24-31. There were a total of eight stages covering more than 1000 kilometers. The Tour is one of women’s cycling two grand tours. After years of campaigning, the professional peloton succeeded.
The first day was the only flat stage in the race. It took place in the city of Paris from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées. The stage was one by Dutch rider, Lorena Wiebes.
The second through the eighth stage all had hilly or mountainous terrain. Stage two was won by Marianne Vos of team Jumbo-Visma. In the previous day’s race she came in second. After taking the yellow jersey, she managed to keep it for the next four days. Upon winning, she remarked “It’s not revenge. It’s an absolutely wonderful day.”
On the third day, the Danish rider Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig managed to outspring Marianne Vos. Ludwig, the Danish champion, said, “I wanted to help the team, keep my fighting spirit.” The course from Reims to Epernay was the day with the first climbing challenge.
The fourth day of the race saw a breakaway. Swiss rider, Marlen Reusser, just 15km from the finish managed to get far enough ahead to secure her victory. After taking victory, she told Eurosport, “The team had a plan to do a hard race and not let it come down to an easy finale. We just said attack and one would go. I was lucky it was me.”
The fifth and longest stage marked the second victory for Lorena Wiebes. After over 176km of racing, she sprinted for a victory in Saint-Die-des-Vosges. She managed to cross the line in front of yellow jersey wearer, Marianne Vos, and Italian world champion Elisa Balsamo. After the race, she said “I felt strong in the sprint, and I’m delighted to win it after such a long stage.”
The sixth race was yet another victory for yellow jersey wearer, Marianna Vos. She once again the the first place finish, beating out Marta Bastianelli of UAE Emirates and Lotte Kopechy of Team SD Worx in a sprint.
The seventh stage marked the end of Marianna Vos’ dominance in the race. Dutch rider, Annemiek van Vleuten, took the yellow jersey. This mountain stage proved a challenge, but she managed to race solo for an incredible 62km, finishing 3ims 30sec behind the day’s second, Demi Vollering and third, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
The final day took riders through the mountains once again, finishing the race at La Super Planche del Belles Filles. Van Vleuten, three-time winner of the Giro d’Italia as well as time-trial gold medallist at the Tokyo olympics, managed to hold on to her yellow jersey. She was in the 11-rider breakaway group and achieved a 3min 48sec winning margin overall.