The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift route was unveiled by Marion Rousse on Thursday in Paris.
The star studded event held at the Palais des Congres celebrated the first edition of the race won by Annemiek van Vleuten alongside the traditional unveiling of the men’s race.
Most notable departure from 2022 was the start point. The Grand Depart will take place in Clermont Ferrand instead of alongside the mens finish on the Champs Elysee. In outlining the route, Race Director Marion Rousse noted that this move opens up more opportunity for the race and enables it to reach the heights of the Pyrenees which will feature in 2023.
The route now contains 8 stages, the same as last year. But follows a different format allowing for the feedback received from the top riders. 4 flat stages, 2 hilly stages, 1 stunning mountain top finish on the Tourmalet then lead to a final 22km Time Trial in Pau. The sprinters will most likely take centre stage in Montignac, where the Lascaux caves are situated. But they will probably be more in the wings on the longest stage of the week (177 km), where the Aveyron ascents will work in favour of the most resilient riders of a breakaway or the strongest punchers for the finish in Rodez. The thin air of the Pyrenees will begin to take its toll on the Albi and Blagnac stages, but it will be on the weekend that the Yellow Jersey candidates will battle for the first time in the high mountains. The legendary Col du Tourmalet, where the Tour riders had their first taste of altitude in 1910, at 2,115 metres, will again be the place to be. The finish line of stage seven has been set five metres lower, in a setting where only the best female climbers in the world can hope to win. The route looks challenging but made for exciting racing and should provide a cliffhanger until the last weekend.
The first edition of the race attracted 20 million spectators on French Television, digitally the website reached 208 million visitors which was beyond expectations. As a result the live television coverage will be increased to 2 and a half hours a day.
Marion Rousse said of the 2022 edition.
It was incredible! The slight apprehension that’s inevitable during the launch of a new race, a new challenge, combined with a few moments of stress that preceded the start were quickly swept away by the welcome that the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift received. From the very first pedal strokes, the race was on the right path and it became a huge success.
It was, above all, a sporting success, a battle that was won in the end by Annemiek van Vleuten, who quickly put aside her lacklustre start and flew away her rivals on the ramps of the Vosges. It was a popular success too, with large numbers of devoted, enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans at the roadside and television audiences that beat all predictions. It was indeed a success right across the board, best exemplified by the smiles – even in the midst of the action! – that lit up the faces of riders relishing taking part in this festival of sport, this “real” Tour de France, which also provided the great race with a fourth week filled with passion, fervour and vitality.
You can learn more about the race here and of course Voxwomen will be reporting on the build up to the 2023 edition.