How the race finished
Lotto Kopecky (SD Worx) rode away solo to claim the first yellow jersey of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes. Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx) and Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich) led home the reduced chasing bunch behind her.
Full results are available below.
How it happened
The opening stage of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes started and finished in Clermont- Ferrand, with the riders rolling out under the midday sun. With 124km ahead of them, but both the intermediate sprint and the one categorised climb of the day coming towards the end of the stage, the racing got off to a slow start. LivRacing TeqFind and Jayco-AlUla were happy to manage proceeding at the front, as the group rolled along nervously.
Typhaine Laurence (Lifeplus Wahoo) found herself an early opportunity, opening up a small gap on the bunch. Amandine Fouquenet (Arkéa Pro Cycling) tried to bridge across to join her, but the gap had opened up too much. Laurence was brought back by the peloton with 78 kilometres remaining to race.
Marta Lach (Ceratizit-WNT) was the next rider to go up the road, building her advantage out to nearly a minute. The gap tumbled quickly as the GC teams prepared for the final parts of stage. Lidl-Trek picked up the pace on the front in the run up to the intermediate sprint, where Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek) took the maximum points ahead of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (AG Insurance-Soudal Quickstep) and Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Uno-X Pro Cycling).
Coming onto the only categorised climb of the day, the Category 3 rise up to Côte de Dertol, SD Worx took over from Lidl-Trek on the front. Marlen Reusser set a high pace at the front, immediately causing a number of high profile riders to begin to struggle at the back. The group whittled down quickly, but sprinters Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich) and Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx) both showed outstanding climbing to continue hanging on at the back of the front bunch.
At 800m until the top of the climb, after Demi Vollering (SD Worx) had taken over pacing duties from Reusser, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) launched a searing attack out of the leading group. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Moolman-Pasio (AG Insurance Soudal Quickstep) both stood on their pedals to chase, but had to let Kopecky go away. Kopecky pushed over the top of the climb solo, securing the mountains jersey. With a quick glance back to see the open road behind her, she continued onto the descent alone.
The chasing group of ten riders struggled to coordinate their chase, despite Movistar, FDJ-Suez and Canyon//Sram Racing all having more than one rider in the bunch. Most of the GC riders were in the bunch, but a few key riders including Silvia Persico (UAE Team AQD), Reijanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) and Juliette Labous (dsm-firmenich) had missed the move. Vollering did a subtle job of disrupting the chase efforts, aiding Kopecky who gained time ahead. Behind, Pfieffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich) went to work, bringing back the third group on the road, containing fast finishers Kool, Wiebes, and Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma). Once the group had swelled there was even less cohesion in the chase, and Kopecky extended her lead, taking an emphatic win to put herself into the yellow jersey.
The chasers came home 41 seconds in arrears, with Lorena Wiebes benefitting from the leadout of Demi Vollering to make it a 1-2 for SD Worx. Kool just pipped Vos on the line for third, while behind, Moolman-Pasio got involved in her second sprint of the day, edging Vollering for 5th place.
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