Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage one preview - Champs-Élysées sprint

Stage one of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is going to be historic, Rouleur previews who could don the first yellow jersey of the race

Tour de France Femmes 2022, stage one
Distance: 82km
Start location: Paris Tour-Eiffel
Finish location: Champs-Élysées
Start time: 12:30 BST
Finish time (approx): 14.27 BST

As the men’s race completes its three weeks on the storied Parisienne avenue, the rebooted women’s Tour de France gets underway. Despite the similar setting, by contrast with the men’s race there will be nothing ceremonial about the opening stage of the Tour de France Femmes, as the teams have their first chance to stare one another down as they begin the eight-day fight for supremacy.

Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage one route

A short stage at just 82km, the distance does not detract from the role the stage will play in setting up the race that follows. Although it’s likely to end in a bunch sprint, it represents more than simply a chance to race for a stage win. It is also a fight for the first maillot jaune since 1989; a prestigious honour that the women’s peloton will be taking seriously, and which will undoubtedly result in a fast, tense race.

Departing from beneath the iconic Eiffel Tower, the route consists of a short circuit that the women will complete twelve times. What it lacks in variation it more than makes up for in spectacle, as the French capital’s landmarks will flash past repeatedly on a tricky, technical parcours that features a number of tight turns in addition to its numerous long, straight sections.

Tour de France Femmes stage one profile

Tour de France Femmes stage one profile

From the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the peloton crosses the River Seine to the Trocadéro. They then travel along the north bank of the Seine, and swing east around the Louvre, before hurtling along the Champs Élysées, around the Arc de Triomphe and back the same way once more.

Once this circuit has been completed 12 times, the flamme rouge will be in sight. It’s the ninth time a women’s race has finished on the Champs but the first time a yellow jersey will be awarded here, so the stage holds a great deal of significance for the peloton on many levels.

Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage one predictions and contenders

As for who will be the first to don the maillot jaune, the day is weighted heavily in favour of the fast women. With the sprinters’ teams stronger than ever this season, it’s highly unlikely that the feats of Anna van der Breggen in the 2015 edition of La Course will be repeated; she’s the only woman to have won on the Champs not in a sprint, but her late breakaway with a kilometre remaining seems
unlikely to be repeated in 2022.

The winner is much more likely to come from the incredibly strong pool of sprinters who have been battling all season – the likes of World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo), Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM), and Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) will all be present. Emma Norsgaard of Movistar also has a good chance today, as does Team SD Worx's Lotte Kopecky. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) could perform well but she is not as suited to pure sprint finishes as some of her competitors. Ruby Roseman-Gannon of Team BikeExchange is another option, or the Australian team could opt to lead out Alexandra Manly.

Vittoria Guazzini of FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope has a chance here if things go right for the Italian, as does Chiara Consonni of Valcar-Travel and Service.

Beyond this, it will be essential for those not involved in sprint lead-outs to protect their GC leaders, as on a tense opening day the potential for spills will only be exacerbated by the high stakes.

Rouleur predicts: We can't see anyone getting the better of Team DSM and their imperious sprinter Lorena Wiebes today. The Dutchwoman will secure the first yellow jersey of the race.

Cover image: Zac Williams/SWpix

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