Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage two preview - a day for the puncheurs

Rouleur previews stage two of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift – a few lumps and bumps could put some of the pure sprinters in danger

Tour de France Femmes 2022, stage two
Distance: 136.4km
Start location: Meaux
Finish location: Provins
Start time: 11:50 BST
Finish time (approx): 15.15 BST

The second day of the women's Tour de France begins a few kilometres East of Paris in the town of Meaux. The whole stage takes place in the department of Seine-et-Marne, and although it features a fair amount of undulating terrain, there’s only one categorised climb which comes very early in the stage.

This makes it another prime target for the sprinters among the bunch, and it may offer the bearer of the maillot jaune the opportunity to add to their lead in the overall competition, before the GC riders take over later in the week. With a tougher finish than on stage one though, we could see a different type of rider sprinting for the win, with the puncheurs likely to thrive on an uphill run-in to the line.

Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage two route

The race departs Meaux, a village that is primarily known for making Brie cheese, and crosses the Marne River as the riders make their way to kilometre zero. Shortly after flag drop, the peloton will head further south, encountering the Category 4 Côte de Tigeaux climb after just 15km of riding. At 1.66km in length and with an average gradient of 4.2%, the climb will be a short, punchy affair – it
also offers points for those hoping to contest the Queen of the Mountains competition, so expect a feisty, explosive opening to the day’s racing.

As it’s so early on, the climb is unlikely to cause any splits in the bunch, as it’s likely the peloton will come back together once the peak is breached. However, the chaotic start may provide an opportune launching pad for riders hoping to be part of the day’s break.

The rest of the day is untroubled by categorised ascents. The race travels across verdant, undulating land to the picturesque commune of Melun, on the outskirts of the Gâtinais Regional Natural Park and close to rock-climbing mecca Fontainebleau, before taking a sharp turn eastwards and travelling towards the day’s final destination of Provins. Provins, which recently played host to the Tour de l’Avenir, is a UNESCO World Heritage site – the town is hemmed in by well-preserved Medieval walls, and with a plethora of architectural gems within its limits. It will provide a stunning backdrop to what is likely to be the second sprint finish in as many days for the women. It’s not straightforward though, as the run-in to the finish line goes uphill.

Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage two contenders and prediction

The final 900m average 4.1%, a ramp likely to suit a more punchy sprinter or classics rider, so expect to see the likes of Lotte Kopecky and Emma Norsgaard in the mix along with the stronger sprinters to contest the final.

For the GC riders, it will once again be a day to keep out of harm’s way, with the yellow jersey likely to change hands if any of the puncheurs can find a gap as they surge to the finish.

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