Bretagne Ladies Tour History
A very long-running race, the Bretagne Ladies Tour can trace its origins back to 1987 when Cecile Odin won. Since then, it’s always kept a low level but has just started to move up in the last couple of years after a patchy record since 2016. It’s no longer a 2.2 race but has reached 2.1 level. It’s still able to keep a host of local teams in attendance and did have a French national team due to race but that became moot once Audrey Cordon-Ragot was able to find a new team.
The Brittany rider is closely tied to the race, having won in 2013 and 2019, but it was Vittoria Guazzini who took the win last season. She didn’t win a stage but thanks to consistent racing and a good time trial, the Italian was able to take home the general classification. She was down to try and retain her title but fractured her pelvis a month ago at Paris Roubaix Femmes and should still be out.
Bretagne Ladies Tour 2023 Profiles
Stage 1 Profile
Stage 2 Profile
Stage 3 Profile
Stage 4 Profile
Stage 5 Profile
Tuesday 9th May 2023 to Saturday 13th May 2023
Live on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BretagneLadiesTourCeratizit/
Stage coverage times TBC
All times in BST
Bretagne Ladies Tour 2023 Contenders
Audrey Cordon-Ragot has to be a big pre-race favourite. The French rider will want to do well on home roads, can time trial and will be a threat on the lumpy roads she knows well. Her Human Powered Health team also require the UCI points from a strong GC position. She was 2nd at Omloop van Borsele recently to prove her form. The 10th at the TT there is a bit of a misnomer due to a massive storm blowing through the race halfway through. Teammate Daria Pikulik was 2nd at Leiedal Koerse recently, her best result since winning a Tour Down Under stage back in January. Human Powered Health had a huge race there and probably should have won but for a late attack. Kiwi Henrietta Christie is back after crashing at Flèche Wallonne. She’s got an ok TT but really if she can recreate her Tour Down Under where she finished 7th then she could be a contender.
Grace Brown should have the best shout for FDJ-Suez. The Aussie didn’t have the best spring classics campaign, 6th at Amstel Gold Race was a recent high point but there were few top-10s. She has a chance to put that right and get back to the form she had back at the Tour Down Under. Behind her, there’s a triple threat of
Marie Le Net who has a fast finish but hasn’t got a result of note so far in 2023. Emilia Fahlin and Stine Borgli have been racing well with national teams in the last week. Fahlin took 3rd in GC at Gracia Orlová and Borgli 12th in GC with a top-10 stage result at Festival Elsy Jacobs. There is also the return of Vittoria Guazzini after she broke her pelvis at Paris Roubaix Femmes. She won here last year but her form is going to be unknown coming into this year’s race after a serious injury. Megan Armitage continues to be a threat in lumpy races, she was 22nd in GC at Festival Elsy Jacobs but that hides the sheer amount of work and attacking the Irish rider did in that race. Her 4th at GP Féminin de Chambéry and GC win at Vuelta Extremadura make her a genuine GC contender here, although the TT might see her lose time to rivals. No Armitage in the end but Dani de Francesco is here for her new team. She got off to a good start with 8th at GP Morbihan at the weekend and will be a threat for stages across the whole race. I really like the chances of Parkhotel Valkenburg’s Femke Gerritse here. She was 4th at Festival Elsy Jacobs, finishing 5th and 8th across both stages, her best result of the year so far. She’s been threatening a result like that with 5th on the last day of Tour de Normandie Féminin putting her 16th in GC there. Maybe her time trial won’t be as strong as say Cordon-Ragot’s but the lumpy stages will suit her.
UAE Development’s Linda Zanetti is a rider in some great form. Her solo attack at Omloop van Borsele was a notable win by the Swiss rider, followed by 13th in a lumpy sprint race at GP della Liberazione before 3 top-10 results at Gracia Orlová. Her TT at the latter race was good enough but it was another win on Stage 2 that puts her in real contention here. She did crash out of the final stage however so maybe that has an effect this week.
Another Breton looking to do well at the Bretagne Ladies Tour will be Ceratizit-WNT’s Cédrine Kerbaol. She has a very good TT for this field and can look back on a successful GC win at the Tour de Normandie Féminin in mid-March too. That came as a result of attacking the field and holding off the chase from Cordon-Ragot to win Stage 2 by 8 seconds and the GC by just 1 second. She was 10th at Festival Elsy Jacobs recently too and is a real contender. Arianna Fidanza was 5th in Luxembourg and is a strong contender for stage victories. A strong start to the year was looking to be slightly derailed by the spring classics but she has returned to form since 4th at Ronde de Mouscron with a pair of 6th places last week.
I’m expecting St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 to have a strong race with their trio of Roxanne Fournier, Coralie Demay and
Simone Boilard. Demay lost a decent amount of time in the time trial here last year and that may prevent them from getting a very high GC placing by the end of the week. So stage wins may be what they focus on instead. Roxane Fournier has been in strong sprinting form this year, with a best result of 3rd at Tour de Normandie Feminin. Simone Boilard might get the shout if Fournier is dropped, something she did when taking 6th on the first day in Normandie. Coralie Demay is a bit of a wildcard in that I can see her going on attacks, maybe getting a win from the break at this year’s Bretagne Ladies Tour.
The Top Girls Fassa Bortolo riders Alessia Vigilia
and Cristina Tonetti are a regular in these previews because they love going on the attack and that translates into results. Tonetti was 2nd at GP della Liberazione in Rome recently and she was on the attack in Festival Elsy Jacobs without the strong final result. Alessia Vigilia instead managed to get 16th in GC with a 9th place finish on the final stage. The TT is what will probably step either from getting close to the podium, with Vigilia finishing 19th in the one here last year.
Olha Kulynych took a strong 5th place from the front group at Leiedal Koerse despite being massively outnumbers by the 4 Human Powered Health riders in the same move. That bodes well for what she might do against this field and built upon her 6th in GC at Trofeo Ponente in Rosa where she caught up from an average TTT result on the opening day to take 2nd on the very hilly final stage. She took 5 minutes out of riders here like Vigilia and Gerritse, so the harder the stage maybe the better the Ukrainian will do.
Dominika Wlodarczyk had a successful time in Gracia Orlová last week. The Pole took 2 stage wins and finished 2nd in GC. She’s the best hope of MAT ATOM Deweloper Wroclaw here and did a reasonable job in the time trial in the Czech Republic, finishing 10th and beating Linda Zanetti. A stage win and decent top-10 finish should be very much on the cards at the Bretagne Ladies Tour.
Bretagne Ladies Tour 2023 Outsiders
I like the chances of Victoire Berteau doing well on a stage hunt but maybe not a GC stint due to her time trial results in the past. She was 8th at Brabantse Pijl and 15th at Ronde de Mouscron so Berteau has a good shout at negotiating the lumpy stages of the Bretagne Ladies Tour.
It’s potentially the opposite for AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step’s Maud Rijnbeek. The winner of the U23 Watersley Challenge TT last year, Rijnbeek should do alright against the clock and was doing pretty well at Elsy Jacobs as well last week. A strong GC position after the TT might see her get the team support to finish high up in GC. No Rijnbeek in the end so I’ll pivot to her teammate Maaike Boogaard. She’s had a quieter 2023 so far compared to last season with a best result of only 28th at Nokere Koerse. She was 6th in the TT here last year and can have a fast finish too. A solid time trial and a fast finish are a good way to do well at Bretagne Ladies Tour. The season started strong for Ceratizit-WNT’s Mylene de Zoete with top-10s at the UAE Tour Women and Omloop van het Hageland but then it went a bit quiet across the rest of the spring classics. A return to form here could see De Zoete sprinting or aiding Fidanza in the final of stages. It’s going to be a similar story with Kathrin Schweinberger as well, with the Austrian taking 7th at Scheldeprijs this year.
Colombian Natalia Franco did well at the Vuelta Extremadura, finishing 9th in GC there and is certainly a threat when the road goes uphill. She’ll be taken out of the GC running at the time trial but could be in the hunt on the lumpier stages at this year’s Bretagne Ladies Tour.
Finally, Keely Bennett is a rider I was high on during the Australian part of the season. The 20-year-old is one to watch and potentially one of the next generation of Aussie stars to make it across to the Euro peloton. She was 2nd on the 2nd stage of the Bay Cycling Classic before finishing 4th in the Oceania Conti Champs. She’s got a decent sprint, having beaten Chloe Hosking in the first of those results and will be an unknown threat for most of this peloton.