Tour de France Femmes 2022, stage six
Start location: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges
Finish location: Roshiem
Start time: 12:00 BST
Finish time (approx): 15.18 BST
With the longest stage in modern women’s cycling history in their legs, the women pick up where they left off on stage six of the women's Tour de France in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. The town sits in the valley of the river Meurthe, and is surrounded by wooded sandstone mountains which will feature on the day’s hilly parcours.
There are four categorised climbs spaced along the day’s route, which could be a day for the puncheurs, the sprinters, or a breakaway, depending on how the teams ride. With just two big GC days to follow, the tension will be building within the peloton.
Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage six route
From Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, the race continues east towards the German border, heading slightly uphill for the first 20km or so as the peloton encounters its first categorised challenge of the day, the Col d’Urbeis (4km at 3%). It’s enough of an obstacle to potentially split the peloton briefly as the hopefuls for the day’s break can look to use it as a launching pad for early attacks.
From there, a long descent drops the women into some lumpy terrain as they turn north and enter the Bas-Rhin region. They face two punchy climbs in quick succession after that. First up, a second category four climb, the Côte de Klingenthal – a steep 1km ramp with an average gradient of 6.1% -before they swing back west and begin a figure of eight route around the Alsace wine region.
Shortly after, they take on the only third category climb of the day, the Côte de Grendelbruch, an even tougher test, and one where punchers could steal a march on their rivals. At 1.2km in length and with an average gradient of 8%, anyone who does look to attack will need to be committed, as with 62km of the day’s distance still to cover, there is plenty of time for the stronger teams to reel any escapees back in on the quick descent which follows.
Chances for both the green and yellow jersey contenders precede the run-in to the final climb – an intermediate sprint in Urmatt, followed by a short climb in Mollkirch which offers bonus seconds to the GC riders. From there, the race descends into Rosheim, passing the finish line for the first time before a they take on a circuit of 28km, during which they will tackle the final categorised climb of the day, the Côte de Boersch.
At 2.2km, the climb isn’t particularly steep, at 4.4%, however once complete the riders face a false flat and another short kicker before the descent to the finish line.
Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage six contenders and prediction
It’s possible that the punchier riders may be able to drop the purer sprinters if they play it smartly, making it a potentially good day for race leader Marianne Vos or Lotte Kopecky. Elisa Longo Borghini could also go well on this terrain, as could Kasia Niewiadoma and stage three winner Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
Cover image: Zac Williams/SWpix