Vuelta a España Femenina 2023: Everything you need to know

All the essential information you need about the women's seven-stage race in Spain

Date: Monday May 1, 2023 - Sunday May 7, 2023  
Start: Torrevieja
Finish: Lagos de Covadonga
Total distance: 703.3km 
Stages: Seven
Teams: 24
Defending champion: Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)

The Vuelta a España Femenina is not a new race in the Women’s WorldTour calendar. Having been renamed for 2023, the Spanish stage race first started in 2015 and was called the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta. Originally a one-day race, it has grown over time extending from one day to five days, and this year it has been extended again to be a total of seven stages overall. The total distance for this year’s La Vuelta Femenina will be 703.3 kilometres, making it the third longest women’s race behind the Tour de France Femmes and Giro d’Italia Donne. 

When the race first began in 2015, it used to coincide with the men’s Vuelta a Epsaña. The race organisers have since then decided that the women’s Spanish ‘Grand Tour’ should be a race of its own, and it’s now held in May – three months before the men’s race in September. 

The first winner to take the title was the now-retired Shelley Olds. Since then we’ve seen the likes of Jolien d’Hoore, EIlen Van Dijk, Lisa Brennauer, and Annemiek van Vleuten stand atop of the podium for this race. Last year, Trek-Segafredo rider Elisa Balsamo won the race ahead of Lotte Kopecky and Marta Bastianelli.

The line up for this year's edition is yet to be announced but there have been a few confirmed names so far. On the start list for Trek-Segafredo is pure out-and-out climber Gaia Realini and British rider Lizzie Deignan. Movistar is set to have Annemiek van Vleuten, who will be looking to defend her title, and Jayco Alula is the only team to publish its full line up with the likes of Kristen Faulkner, Ane Santesteban and Gåskjenn Ingvild. 

Now regarded as one of the most important races in the Women’s WorldTour calendar, it attracts the world’s best riders to the start line, all looking to take glory on the Spanish roads.

Elisa Longo Borghini celebrating her victory at the finish line

La Vuelta Femenina 2023 teams list:

All of the UCI Women’s WorldTour teams will be invited to partake in the La Vuelta Femenina, as well as 12 of the UCI Continental Women’s teams. 

  • Canyon//SRAM Racing 
  • EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
  • Israel-Premier Tech-Roland
  • Liv Racing-Teqfind
  • Movistar 
  • Team DSM
  • Team Jayco Alula
  • JumboVisma
  • SD Worx
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • UAE Team ADQ 
  • Bepink
  • Bizkaia-Durango
  • Cantabria Deporte - Rio Miera Women's Cycling Team
  • Eneicat-CMTeam-Seguros Deportivos
  • Farto-BTC Women's Cycling Team
  • Laboral Kutxa - Fundacion Euskadi
  • Massi Tactic Women's Team
  • Soltec Team
  • Sopela Women's Team
  • St Michel - Mavic - Auber93
  • Team Coop-Hitec Products
  • Zaaf Cycling Team

La Vuelta a España Femenina 2023 route: 

The Spanish stage race will open with a team time trial around Torrevieja. The 14.5km route is similar to the time trial which featured in the men’s 2019 Vuelta. Mostly flat, the riders will be able to go full gas until 10km where they will then reach a slight lump before a fast descent to the finish line. 

Stage two is a day of two halves; the first being flat winding roads as the peloton makes its way through several Spanish villages, and the second is where the riders meet the mountains for the first time in the race. Twenty kilometres from the finish in Pilar de la Horadada, they’ll climb Puerto de San Miguel, a category four climb, which will determine the first rider to wear the mountains classification jersey. Another day favouring the sprinters, the 148km route on stage three is flat with little that’ll challenge the riders. 

Official route sourced from the La Vuelta Femenina website

Stage four will be a real taste of the mountains and where the climbers in the peloton will be able to warm up their legs as the route from Cuenca to Guadalajara will take in the Alto de Hurche, a 4km-long climb with an average gradient of 4.5%. It is stage five though where the mountains come into their own as the riders head from La Cabrera to Mirador de Peñas Llana, Riaza. The route undulates until 42km where they’ll then need to get up and over Puerto de Navafría, a category one climb. A similar descent follows as they crest over the top of the mountain, before they head towards La Vuelta Femenina’s first summit finish. At 5km in length, the final climb of stage five climb reaches 1,483 metres in altitude – no easy feat after 120km of racing. 

The final stage of the Spanish race will be defined by two climbs – Collado Moandi and Lagos de Covadonga. The former is a long and testing category two climb that arrives after 36km and goes on for over 12km. The final climb however, is an absolute brute and puts everything that has preceded it in the shade. At 16km climb with a testing average gradient of 7.4%, this is almost certainly the climb that will decide the race, with only the best riders able to conquer it at the head of affairs.

Stage one: 14.5km, Torrevieja - Torrevieja (TTT)
Stage two: 105.1km, Orihuela - Pilar de la Horadada 
Stage three: 148.2km, Elche de la Sierra - La Roda 
Stage four: 133.1km, Cuenca - Guadalajara 
Stage five: 129.2km, La Cabrera - Mirador de Peñas Llana, Riaza
Stage six: 106.7km, Castro-Urdiales - Laredo 
Stage seven: 93.5km, Pola de Siero - Lagos de Covadonga

How to watch La Vuelta Femenina 2023:

Daily coverage of La Vuelta Femenina will be streamed live on GCN+ for those watching from the UK and Europe. If you do not have the time to tune in live, GCN+ also offers full race replays of each stage. 

Eurosport and Discovery+ will also be covering the race live. If you have a SkyQ, Sky Stream and Sky Glass subscription, you are now able to sign up to Discovery+ for free as part of your package. 

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