Antonia Niedermaier wins the inaugural stage of the Tour de l’Avenir Femmes

Antonia Niedermaier wins the opening stage of the Tour de l'Avenir

In a momentous opening to the inaugural Women’s Tour de l’Avenir, Antonia Niedermaier of Germany blitzed through the 14.8-kilometre individual time trial in Saint-Vallier, Saône-et-Loire, to claim the first-ever leader’s yellow jersey of the event. A U23 World Champion in the time trial, the Canyon // SRAM Racing star asserted her prowess, leaving Anna Shackley of Great Britain and Shirin van Anrooij of the Netherlands trailing by 13 and 22 seconds, respectively.

“It was a very nice time, short but with a lot of ups and downs. I really liked this circuit,” Niedermaier told DirectVelo at the foot of the ceremonial podium. Her victory is far from shocking; the 20-year-old is the reigning Espoirs world champion in the time trial. “It was even perfect,” she said, describing the circuit that seemingly played into her dual specialities of time trialling and climbing.

Reflecting on the broader significance, Niedermaier noted, “It’s something to win the first stage of the first Women’s Tour de l’Avenir. This is an important step in the evolution of women’s cycling. This race was also needed for the girls.” She expressed her excitement and intent to defend her leading position in the coming stages, especially as the race’s last two stages play to her strengths as a climber.

On the other hand, the Tour de France Femmes white jersey winner Cédrine Kerbaol, who recently secured a silver medal at the Glasgow championships, found herself outclassed. Finishing fourth, Kerbaol acknowledged Niedermaier’s superior power-to-weight ratio in the climbs. “It still hurts to think that I took 40 seconds over 14 kilometres,” she commented. Kerbaol, however, is focused on the rest of the season, stating, “I’ve already had a great season, now all that happens is a bonus.”

For Niedermaier, the victory encapsulates an already remarkable year. “It’s been a crazy year for me! There have been ups and downs,” she said, alluding to a mixed bag of personal and professional highs and lows. As the Women’s Tour de l’Avenir unfolds, Niedermaier seems poised to carve her name into the annals of women’s cycling history, all while wearing the leader’s yellow jersey—a vibrant sign of her rising star in a season that, for her, has been nothing short of transformative. A strong finish was on the cards at the Giro Donne after a stage victory, but an unfortunate crash took her out of the race early.

2023 Tour de l’Avenir Stage 1 result

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