Tour de France Femmes 2023 – Race preview


12.07.23 at 2:15 pm

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Following a successful edition in 2022, the Tour de France Femmes is back for its second edition (in this format) for 2023.

After decimating the field last time around, Annemiek van Vleuten once again starts as the favourite to take her second yellow jersey. Despite this, in the year since, SD Worx has bolstered their lineup and it should be a closer affair this time around as Demi Vollering looks to dethrone the stage racing Queen.

The Stages

Taking in a slightly different format to last year, the race begins with punchy stages that should shake up the general classification from the outset before encountering a handful of sprinter friendly stages in the middle of the race. The one mountainous day is a brute and the final time trial will be a test for everyone.

Image credit: ASO


Stage One – Clermont Ferrand – Clermont Ferrand – 124km – Hilly

This first stage should favour the puncheurs as the final climb, the Côte de Durtol, is something of a wall. Featuring steep pitches of up to 9% and a technical descent, it would be a surprise to see the sprinters get back into the bunch in time for the finale.

Stage Two – Clermont Ferrand – Mauriac – 148km – Hilly

An undulating stage could see the breakaway get its first chance at victory, however the puncheurs that missed out on stage one will want to put things right at the end of today’s stage. Expect more gaps on the final climb of the Côte de Trébiac.

Stage Three – Collonges – La – Rouge – Montignac – Lascaux – 147km – Flat

Following a punchy start to proceedings, the sprinters will relish their first real opportunity on stage three. Despite featuring some short climbs, they should prove no issue for those hoping for a bunch sprint.

Stage Four – Cahors – Rodez – 177km – Hilly

The longest stage of the race resembles an Ardennes Classic and will serve as a test for the contenders for the overall victory. Queen of the Ardennes, Demi Vollering will fancy her chances today.

Stage Five – Onet le Château – Albi – 126km – Flat

A slightly lumpier day awaits on stage five, although I still believe it’s too easy for the breakaway to stay away as the final climb tops out with over 20km still to race.

Stage Six – Albi – Blagnac – 122km – Flat

The flattest stage of the race is the last opportunity for the sprinters to take a stage win. Meanwhile, the baroudeurs will be hoping for crosswinds on the exposed sections to snatch the victory away from the fast women.

Stage Seven – Lannemezan – Tourmalet Bagnères – De – Bigorre – 90km – Mountains

A stage that needs no introduction and will likely serve as the main GC day at this years’ race. The final climb of the Col du Tourmalet will be the most challenging many in the peloton have ever raced on as it takes them over 2,000 metres above sea level.

Stage Eight – Pau – Pau – 22km – ITT

The final battle for the yellow jersey will come down to who has the best time-trialling legs following a brutal day in the mountains. At first glance this TT looks simple enough, however two small climbs could be enough for significant time gaps to appear.

Main Contenders

Annemiek van Vleuten

The defending champion hasn’t been at her imperious best so far this season, however her overall victory at the inaugural Vuelta Femenina showed that her climbing legs still appear to be better than her rivals’. Her winning margin of almost four minutes in 2022 will certainly be hard to match, even in her best form.


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Demi Vollering

The most in-form rider in the women’s peloton going into the race, Demi Vollering has led the SD Worx machine to unparalleled levels of success in 2023. A classics specialist by trade, Vollering has worked on her climbing and looks set to be the main challenger to Van Vleuten for a second consecutive season.


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Marta Cavalli and Cecilie Uttrup – Ludwig

FDJ – Suez come to the race with a duel pronged attack once more. In Marta Cavalli they have a reliable climber who will be a threat on stage seven. Meanwhile, Uttrup – Ludwig possesses explosive power that may deliver stage wins on hillier days. The French outfit are one of the few teams with the potential to place two riders inside the overall top ten.

Kasia Newiadoma

A consistently strong GC rider, Kasia Newiadoma will once again be targeting the podium but harbouring ambitions of finally claiming the top step. Her main weaknesses lie in time-trials, though the Pole will be aiming to hang tough on stage eight.

Juliette Labous

The home favourite battled to a creditable fourth place last season and has the ability to push for the podium once more. Labous remains one of the younger stars of the peloton and her climbing has continued to improve over the course of the past year. Team DSM also have a strong lineup to support the Frenchwoman.

Other potential contenders

Ashleigh Moolman, Silvia Persico, Liane Lippert, Elisa Longo – Borghini, Évita Muzic

The Sprinters

Lorena Wiebes

SD Worx’s resident fast woman has been the dominant force in bunch sprint for the past few seasons. Wiebes took two stage victories in 2022 before being forced to abandon, she’ll have the green jersey firmly in her sights this time around.


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Charlotte Kool

Former lead-out rider for Wiebes, Charlotte Kool has matured into one of her main rivals this season. The Team DSM sprinter has already taken multiple WorldTour stage wins in 2023.

Elisa Balsamo

The former world champion hasn’t enjoyed the most prolific season of her career thus far, however in taking two podium finishes at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas she proved she can still mix it with the best in bunch sprints.

Marianne Vos

One of the undisputed greats of cycling, Marianne Vos took the green jersey home last year and will be looking to replicate that feat this season. Vos is a better climber than many of her rivals meaning she is in a better position to pick up intermediate sprint points.


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Lotte Kopecky

Team SD Worx have proven themselves so strong in 2023 that they can afford to take a back up sprinter to this race. Newly crowned Belgian national champion Lotte Kopecky was a consistent podium finisher last year and will be hoping to make the step-up to becoming a stage winner.

Other sprinters

Chiara Consonni, Maike van der Duin, Simone Boilard, Julie de Wilde, Ariana Fidanza

The 2023 edition of the Tour de France Femmes takes place between the 23rd – 30th July and looks set to be a cracker. If you want to get in on the action, don’t forget Yellow Jersey offer cycle travel insurance which can be bought here. 

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