2023 Tour de France Femmes – Stage Six Race Report

How the race finished

Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) held off the stampeding peloton to take another win for team Movistar, this time from the breakaway. Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich) and Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) were fastest of the chasing peloton, but weren’t fast enough to catch Norsgaard.

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) extended her lead in the general classification, and with no change in the top ten positions it will all be to play for tomorrow on the stage finish atop the Tourmalet.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

Stage Six of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes followed a flatter profile from Albi to Blagnac. As the last opportunity for sprinters or rouleurs to take a win before the peloton head into the mountains tomorrow and the time trial on Sunday, a number of teams were keen to find an opportunity to get something out of the race today.

The first attack came from April Tacey (Lifeplus Wahoo) who was joined by Rachel Neylan (Cofidis), but after initially building a small lead, the pair were reeled back in by the peloton. Agnieszka Skalniak-Sojka (Canyon//Sram Racing) then jumped away solo, taking maximum points across the top of the first categorised climb of the day. Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) and Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit WNT) set off in pursuit of Skalniak-Sojka, who held off the duo for a number of kilometres until the trio joint forces at the front.

As the pace eased off in the peloton, the breakaway’s lead went out to 2 minutes 20 seconds with 80km to go. Dsm-firmenich took responsibility for leading the chase, while FDJ-Suez appeared intent to attack, possibly looking to bridge one of their riders up to the leading trio. 

The back to back category 4 climbs up the Côte de Puyceldi and the Côte du Clos Pourtié saw a flurry of attacks. Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek) attacked with Alena Ameliusk (UAE Team ADQ) on the wheel, which was closed by Juliette Labous for dsm-firmenich. Jade Wiel (FDJ-Suez) found herself clear for a few moments, but was also brought back. The attacking in the peloton brought the gap to the leading trio down to one minute, while sprinter Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich) found herself off the back. UAE Team ADQ took it up on the front of the peloton, possibly eyeing up chances for Ciara Consonni at the end of the day, with Kool in trouble. With the help of teammates, Kool was eventually able to return to the front.

FDJ-Suez continued to be active, with first Grace Brown and then Loes Adegeest putting in strong attacks to try to go clear, but the bunch wouldn’t let them get away. A crash at the back of the bunch saw mountains jersey wearer Yara Kastelijn (Fenix Deceuninck) go down. Supported by a teammate, she was able to rejoin the group. Also affected in the crash was Veronica Ewers (EF Education Tibco SVB), who, despite initially looking like she may not be able to continue the race, was determined to battle to the finish, hoping to be in a good enough condition to show her climbing prowess tomorrow. 

With it all back together in the peloton, the gap to the trio up front stretched from one minute back up towards two. With around 30km remaining FDJ-Suez tried again, with Grace Brown launching off the front, but once again she was brought back. UAE-Team ADQ, Jumbo-Visma and dsm-firmenich began working together on the front, and the gap to the break started slowing coming down again. With 10km to go, the trio still held 40 seconds, but the peloton seemed to have things under control. 

On a small rise at 4km to go Norsgaard attacked her breakaway companions, taking Skalniak-Sojka with her. For Alonso, her day in the break was done, and she slowly drifted back to the peloton. The pair out front continued to work together, holding a slim margin that hovered between 15 and 20 seconds. SD Worx came to the front for the first time all day, but a series of roundabouts slowed the chase. A tight chicane crossing over the tramlines resulted in a crash in the peloton with 1 kilometre to go, and although most of the sprinters were clear, the chase was disrupted and some fast finishers found themselves delayed. 

On the final straight Norsgaard kicked off the front, putting in the longest sprint of her life to hold off the chasing peloton, who swept up Skalniak-Sojka and fought it out for second place, a few metres behind Norsgaard.

 

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

 

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