All You Need To Know And Riders To Watch
The Tour of Romandie Féminin is celebrating its inaugural edition, taking place in the French speaking region of Switzerland over 3 stages beginning in Lausanne on Friday, October 7, ending in Geneva on Sunday the 9th, 2022. Organizers were eager to add another event to highlight the continuing growth of the Women’s WorldTour. Making up for lost time, the race is hoping to inspire future champions along the way, using this first year as a launching pad to build its own history and audience placing the event in the fall.
For the birth of this first edition, the race will cover 3 stages of diverse terrain in the shadows of the Swiss Alps. The demanding route will cover 386.5km including a total of 6,714m of climbing. Displaying a variety of what the region has to offer, organizers are hoping to see some intense battles among the best teams in the world to celebrate a well-rounded champion for its inaugural year and end the 2022 Women’s WorldTour Calendar.
Beyond the leaders jersey, the race organization will award a jersey for the points classification, the best young rider, and queen of the mountains. Separately, a most combative rider will be chosen by the media and awarded a yellow race number bib to wear the following day, while the best Swiss rider on the general classification will be awarded a red and white race number bib.
To start the first day of racing, the peloton will begin its 134.4km trek in the city of Lausanne with its rich history in cycling hosting a number of stage finishes for both the Tour de France and the men’s Tour de Romandie. The city prides itself in supporting equality in sport, and is thus eager to cement its relationship as the first host for the launch of the women’s edition.
As the peloton rolls out, the first category 3 climb sits at just under 8km from kilometer zero, followed by a short plateau before a second category 3 climb. After the rude awakening to the legs, the field will begin the first of two circuits before reaching the first sprint line at 71.3km and another category 3 climb up Vulliens. Following the Vulliens for a second time what is left of the field will race back down to the coastline. The second intermediate sprint awaits them just 14km before the finish.
The punchy profile has enough short efforts that may split the field but are not steep or long enough to favor pure climbers. A Classics rider should fair well or a punchy sprinter hoping to be in contention for what is expected to be a field sprint before being awarded the first leaders jersey.
Stage 2 in Sion welcomes the pro women to the Swiss Capital of the Alps. The 104.5km route ends atop a summit finish at Thyon that sits just under 2000m. A short hill greets the riders soon after the start, before a long, 50km flat road ahead before reaching the first intermediate sprint of the day taking place at 30.5km.
Teams will fight for positioning ahead of the first category 1 climb up Suen. The 13.8km climb has an average gradient of 6.9% and a max of 10% in places.
The final intermediate sprint awaits the remnants of the field before starting the climb up to the Thyon finishing summit. The 16.9km climb boasts a similar average gradient of 6.7%, with a max of 11%, but is an additional 3km longer than Suen. A change in the jersey is expected as the overall favorites battle their way to be in position for what is likely to decide the GC.
The mid-evil city of Fribourg will welcome the pro women for the final and longest day of racing on Sunday. The race leaders will look to remain safe and defend their position, while those just behind will fight for every second and sprint point before reaching Geneva.
After a short descent down Lucens, the race will reach the category 2 climb up Villars. Should the race leader lose contact from their rivals, they will have plenty of time to fight back before the final category 3 climb 30kms from the finish. Two intermediate sprint lines take place at 61.2km in, and at 102.5km for the sprinters to battle for the last remaining points before the finish.
The punchy route to Geneva will likely end in a field sprint for what is expected to be a thrilling end to celebrate making history at the inaugural Tour de Romandie Féminin.
Riders To Watch
11 WorldTour teams will line up at the start, including 3 Continental teams, and like with the men’s race, a Swiss national team. Race organizers stated the newly crowned; twice World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten will be in attendance, though neither Movistar Team nor Van Vleuten have confirmed her participation. The women of the WorldTour have raced a tough season and after the long travel to worlds in Australia, there will be a lot of tired bodies trying to recover in time for the final battle of the season.
A preliminary start list has yet to emerge with only a few favorites having been named expecting to race. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is one on that list, hoping to cap off a stellar season after finishing 5th in the road race at Worlds. The Danish rider favors stage races, but cannot be counted out if she indeed lines up. Others expected to battle for the final victory of the season include Demi Vollering, and her teammate, Swiss favorite Marlen Reusser. After missing the Tour de Swiss earlier this season, Reusser is eager to end her season in style with a historic victory at home.
When: Friday, October 7 – Sunday, October 9, 2022
Where: Region of Romandie in Switzerland
What: Inaugural Le Tour de Romandie Féminin
Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) *****
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) ****
Demi Vollering (SD Worx) ***
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM) **
‘Watch the Femmes’ TV Coverage: RTVE, TV3 Catalunya, TV2, NBCUniversal, Supersport, Zhibo.TV, GCN, CRTVG, DKTV2 Eurosport, ESPN, Eurosport Asia, JSPORTS.
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By Rebecca Reza