The first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is set to take place between 24th July and 31st July 2022, and today we saw our first glimpses of what the race will look like. The route was presented by Marion Rousse, who was recently appointed as director of Tour de France Femmes, alongside Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.
The inaugural Tour de France Femmes will take place over eight stages and 1,029km in total. The route features two mountain stages, two hilly stages and four flat stages. Here’s everything you need to know.
Stage 1: Eiffel Tower - Champs Elysées (82km)
In contrast to tradition at the men’s Tour de France, the Tour de France Femmes kicks-off in Paris with an 82km stage. After departing from the Eiffel Tower, the stage features twelve laps of the iconic Champs Elysées circuit, including the first king of the mountain's sprint after 62km. The sprinters have the best chance of winning the first yellow jersey.
Stage 2: Meaux - Provins (135km)
Stage 2 between Meaux and Provins is flat throughout. However, a false-flat climb to the finish suits the punchy sprinters.
Stage 3: Reims - Epernay (133km)
Stage 3 is the most challenging to this point with five classified climbs. The Mont Bernon (1km at 4.6%) stands between the riders and the finish in Epernay, providing a suitable launch pad for the puncheurs to attack with just 5km left. Beforehand, the Côte de Mutigny awaits with just over 15km remaining. The short climb features ramps over 12% and will shed the weakest climbers.
The stage emulates stage 3 of the men's Tour de France in 2019, where Julian Alaphilippe won solo to claim the first yellow jersey of his career.
Stage 4: Troyes - Bar-Sur-Aube (126km)
Six climbs and four gravelled sections are packed into the final 60km of stage 4, which promises to cause carnage. These kilometres will be crucial for any rider vying to win the general classification.
Stage 5: Bar-Le-Duc - Saint-Dié-Des-Vosges (175km)
At 175km, stage 5 is by far the longest of the race. Three minor KOM sprints aren’t likely to prevent a sprint finish in Saint-Dié-Des-Vosges. The most difficult aspect of the stage is its length.
Stage 6: Saint-Dié-Des-Vosges - Rosheim (128km)
With plenty of hills, stage 6 offers a major opportunity for the puncheurs to succeed. The Côte de Boersch takes place with 9km left and averages 6.1% over 1.3km. However, if any of the fast finishers get over this test in the leading group, they have a great chance of winning in Rosheim.
Stage 7: Selestat - Le Markstein (127km)
The first mountains await on stage 7 in a back-loaded Tour de France Femmes. Three of the most challenging climbs in Alsace begin with the Petit Ballon, which averages a brutal 8.1% over 9.3km. After a brief descent, the Col du Platzerwasel (7.1km at 8.3%) swiftly follows. The final climb of the stage is the Grand Ballon, which is where we'll see the strongest climbers move to the fore.
Stage 8: Lure - La Super Planche Des Belles Filles (123km)
The final stage has a substantial role to play in deciding the final general classification. The Ballon d’Alsace (8.7km at 6.9%) provides the ideal platform for early attacks. However, La Super Planches des Belles Filles, which averages a monstrous 8.7% over 7km, will conclude the inaugural Tour de France Femmes. The slopes here exceed 20%, with the final gravelled ramp to the finish line touching an absurd 24%. Dylan Teuns defeated Giulio Ciccone here at the 2019 men's Tour de France.
The nature of the route, where the two queen stages occur in the final two days, means we won't be sure of the winner until the riders cross the finish line on the final stage. This could also encourage 'all or nothing' attacks in the final couple of stages.Image credit: ASO