CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées 2023 Race Preview

Yonamine Doebel-Hickok Bauernfeind CIC Tour Feminine Pyrenees 2022

CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées History

The CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées has a limited history with just the one edition in 2022. Krista Doebel-Hickok was the strongest rider over the 4 stages, taking the GC by 1’07” from Eri Yonamine and Ricarda Bauernfeind back at 1’38” behind the American. The opening team time trial did a lot of the GC damage with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB able to take a lead of at least 56″ over the entire field into the rest of the race.

Stage 2 proved to be selective, with Doebel-Hickok winning by a handful of sections from Ricarda Bauernfeind but behind the front group of 5 riders (also including Coralie Demay, Greta Marturano and Eri Yonamine), it was 4 minutes back to the rest of the field. Stage 3 saw a similar result, with Doebel-Hickok winning again and almost the same front 5 clear of the rest – this time Yulia Biriukova replaced Coralie Demay – as the race finished on the Col du Soulor.

The final day saw an attack over the climbs from Silvia Zanardi, Coralie Demay and Morgane Coston. The trio stayed clear of the bunch, with the Italian taking the victory into Lourdes. 

The 2023 edition of CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées removes the team time trial and just heads straight into 3 tough stages instead. The queen stage will see the CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées finish on the Hautacam. The legendary climb has seen men’s winners at the Tour de France like Jonas Vingegaard, Vincenzo Nibali, Bjarne Riis and Luc Leblanc over the years. I’m struggling to find an example of the women’s peloton racing up it but that doesn’t necessarily mean it hasn’t happened as detailed historical records are minimal for some races.

Previous Winners

Krista Doebel-Hickok
Not held
Not held

CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées 2023 Profiles

Stage 1 Profile

Stage 2 Profile

Stage 3 Profile

TV Coverage

Tuesday 9th June 2023 to Thursday 11th June 2023

Live on Eurosport/GCN, SportenFrance & l’Equipe

Stage 1: 11:00-15:00
Stage 2: 12:00-16:00
Stage 3: 10:00-14:30

All times in BST

Twitter: #TourPyrénées

Startlist: FirstCycling

CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées 2023 Contenders

The chance to race up Hautacam before the Tour de France Femmes‘ major climbs has seen the likes of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio sign up to race here. The South African has a couple of wins to her name this season and was consistent enough at Vuelta a Burgos to finish 3rd overall there. One of the strongest names here, she will be a threat, especially if she can recreate the Tour de Romandie climbing form from the end of 2022. Gaia Masetti will be a wildcard, with the La Classique Morbihan winner able to get herself up the road and put pressure on other teams. There’s also a chance Lotta Henttala might be able to sprint on one of the stages here, Stage 1 probably the most likely. She’s still coming back into form after almost 2 months out due to illness but 4th at the Ladies Tour of Estonia recently will have been a confidence booster.

FDJ-Suez has brought the full works here in what might be a clue to their Tour de France Femmes team. The leader will probably be Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, with the Dane doing a solid job this season and finishing 6th on Lagunas de Neila at Vuelta a Burgos. The long road back to her 2022 form is still on for Marta Cavalli but there have been glimpses, including 10th on Lagos de Covadonga at the Vuelta Feminina. At her best, she would be a serious contender for the win here. Grace Brown had a confidence-building week in Brittany recently with a solo win at GP Morbihan and then the GC win at the Bretagne Ladies Tour. Combined with the Tour Down Under wins earlier in the year that makes the Aussie one of the winningest riders in 2023. She should provide support at this race. We could see Evita Muzic become the GC leader as well. The winner this weekend at Alpes Gresivaudan Classic, Muzic has put together a pair of 6th places at both Itzulia Women and La Vuelta Femenina. Whilst more eyes look at the bigger names, Muzic might get the results.

Olivia Baril managed to retain her GP Ciudad de Eibar title a week or so ago, a strong finish to Spain a month after 4th in GC at Itzulia Women as the Canadian always seems to do well in her adopted home of the Basque Country. She wasn’t as strong in the pure climb up to Lagos de Covadonga at the end of the Vuelta Femenina though so a top-10 GC is possible but might be tough. Teammate Yulia Biriukova is in great form as well, supporting Baril at Eibar and finishing 3rd before finishing 6th in GC at the Vuelta a Andalucia. Technically on the UAE Development team, Birukova has shown enough to be promoted to the main UAE Team ADQ team wherever possible under the temporary team switching rules.

Silvia Zanardi was strong here, winning a stage on her way to 21st in GC. The lumpy Stages 1 and 3 will give her a chance for a victory, maybe her first since the GP della Liberazione PINK back at the end of April. She took a pair of top-10s at Vuelta a Burgos and this race will surely prove to be a decent warm-up for the Giro Donne at the end of the month.

It’s been a bit of a quiet year so far for Pauliena Rooijakkers, who I half expected to have a great month in Spain as she did in 2022. There was 10th in GC at Itzulia Women, so not all doom and gloom but it’s hard to know for sure what level she’s at currently. At her best, she’s a contender on Hautacam. Young teammate Neve Bradbury had a good week at the Thüringen Ladies Tour finishing 7th overall and thereby one of the best non-SD Worx riders. We’ve seen the Aussie do well on long climbs in the past, including 10th on Norefjell last year in the Tour of Scandinavia. Soraya Paladin I expect will get shots at Stages 1 and 3 as a hilly race sprinter type. She was 9th in GC at RideLondon Classique, with a 3rd place on Stage 2 leading out Chloe Dygert for the win. Stage 3 here is especially tough in a rolling way and could be a great shot for a first win since 2019.

Cédrine Kerbaol and Arianna Fidanza are the in-form riders for Ceratizit WNT at the moment. Kerbaol took 6th in GC at RIdeLondon with a pair of top-10s along the way. Very impressive at the WWT level but no shock as it came off the back of 7th at the Bretagne Ladies Tour and 2nd at GP Morbihan as well. Kerbaol was also the winner of the Tour de Normandie earlier in the year, which has now received more attention. Arianna Fidanza suffered in the crashes at RideLondon Classique but before then did everything but quite take a win at the Bretagne Ladies Tour with a pair of 2nd places and a 5th across the week. The Italian has had a strong season at Ceratizit WNT and when the course suits, is more than capable of a strong result.

Eva van Agt
Eva van Agt

Dilyxine Miermont was probably the breakout star at the Alpes Gresivaudan Classic, climbing with some strong names on her way to 4th there. It was the best result of her career and adds some hype to what she might achieve on the Hautcam stage. Supported by Simone Boilard and Coralie Demay, all 3 St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 riders will be in the hunt on each stage here. Boilard and Demay might decide to focus on Stages 1 and 3 and then support Miermont again, as they did huge turns at the weekend before dropping back.

Lotte Claes has had a great last few weeks. 7th at Durango Durango, 6th at Navarra Elite Classics and then 4th in GC at the Vuelta a Andalucia. The Belgian has shown herself to be a very solid climber in certain company. Whilst never likely to beat the best of the WWT, Claes will do very nicely here and maybe get back into the top-10. Teammate Maeva Squiban had a good first and last day in Andalucia, finishing 5th on both of those stages. She’s worth keeping an eye out for on Stage 1, in particular, to see if she can recreate those finishes.

Team Jumbo-Visma has a good number of options at this year’s CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées, but are probably more suited to stages than the GC hunt but Eva van Agt has been climbing well recently. 9th at Itzulia Women, she’s not quite there with the best climbers yet but has the potential to make the top-10 here as well. Then for stages, there’s Linda Riedmann, who took 4 top-10s in a row at the Thüringen Ladies Tour and Anna Henderson with top-10s of her own at RideLondon Classique and the Vuelta Femenina recently. Noemi Rüegg also had a good long weekend at RideLondon Classique with 8th on the opening stage and 8th in GC as well. Jumbo-Visma could use any of these 3 on Stages 1 and 3 to get a solid result.

Claire Steels is back in action for Israel-Premier Tech Roland and should be a contender. She’s done better recently at one-day races rather than the stage races, including a win at reVolta and 3rd at Durango Durango. She’s someone who should be in the top-10 in GC against this field though. Teammate Anna Kiesenhofer is also in some solid form at 11th at Alpes Gresivaudan Classic and 13th at Durango Durango. We always expect the long-range break but if she can support Steels, that might see two strong finishes for the team that needs UCI points. Maggie Coles-Lyster also has a shot after 6th place on Stage 4 of the Vuelta Andalucia. There aren’t many sprinters here so she will be one of the fastest finishers.

Laboral-Kutxa hopes at CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées are probably on Debora Silvestri after a great 5th place in GC at the Vuelta Andalucia last week. She didn’t finish lower than 9th on any of the 5 stages and gave a good account of herself after 7th at GP Ciudad de Eibar leading into the race. There will be some good support from in-form riders like Ariana Gilabert and Yurani Blanco but Silvestri feels like the main shout here.

The climb to Hautacam feels perfect for Clara Koppenburg. The Cofidis rider’s best result in 2023 is the 2nd place at reVolta where the descent after the final climb took the race away from her. She was 8th on the climb to Lagunas de Neila in Vuelta a Burgos but a climb like this, just 2 days into a race should suit one of the purest climbers in the women’s peloton.

CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées 2023 Outsiders

Adele Normand
Adele Normand

There have certainly been glimpses from Adèle Normand this season, where 7th in GC at Vuelta Extremadura has been backed up with some good results at Navarra Elite Classics and in the Spanish calendar. The Canadian is probably a better shout for Stage 3 here than the major climbing, she seems to excel most in that sort of attritional climbing day rather than the major climbs.

Jessenia Meneses had a standout ride at the Vuelta a Andalucia and GP Ciudad de Eibar combination. The Colombian has certainly gathered some attention in the European peloton as a result. She took the QoM jersey in Andalucia, regularly topping up the points total on her way to 11th in GC and a pair of top-10 finishes. The Hautacam may or may not be too much but we’re certainly seeing a rider in good form.

Leonie Laubig of Team Groupe Abadie has been nicely solid for a rider from a smaller Continental team over the past 6 weeks. A best result of 13th at reVolta showed that she can climb well and she’s been flirting with the top 20 in other races since too. She’s another for whom the Hautacam is probably too tough for a strong result but the following day will suit instead.

If Meneses was the standout at Andalucia, then the South African rider Maude Le Roux was the standout at Alpes Gresivaudan Classic. Racing for the WCC Team, the former triathlete was in the heavily reduced front group of the bunch and only lose contact once Evita Muzic pushed on and the group fully split. She was 9th there ahead of riders like Anna Kiesenhofer and Eglantine Rayer and it’ll be interesting to see if she backs that result up in the CIC-Tour Féminin Pyrénées.

Top 3 Prediction