Demi Vollering secured two triumphs on Saturday in the Tour de France Femmes. The rider from the Netherlands was the strongest on the Col du Tourmalet, winning the key stage and taking the yellow jersey. Katarzyna Niewiadoma, riding solo for some time, finished second on the stage.
This seventh stage, a 90-kilometre mountainous course with two famous Pyrenean climbs, was eagerly awaited. The first was the Col d’Aspin (12 km at 6.5%), then the Col du Tourmalet (17.1 km at 7.5%), where the finish line was located on a renowned incline.
Departing from Lannemezan, the race was without Veronica Ewers, Elisa Balsamo and Elisa Longo Borghini, the latter forced to leave due to a skin ailment.
The opening saw many attack attempts but no successful breakaways. Eventually, Susanne Andersen and Margot Pompanon gained some ground but were caught at the start of the Col d’Aspin. Movistar then led the pack, leading to several riders falling back.
Six kilometres from the top, Lianne Lippert increased the pace, setting up Van Vleuten’s attack. Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Demi Vollering kept up; the rest fell behind. They continued as a trio, with Niewiadoma eventually taking the summit.
With a fifty-second lead over the chasers, something unusual on the descent caused two of the three leaders to fall back. Niewiadoma pressured Vollering and Van Vleuten, causing them to lose ground. They then refused to work together and fell back further.
Marlen Reusser of SD Worx led the chasers, and Niewiadoma’s advantage was soon lost. The group of favourites now included Van Vleuten, Vollering, Uttrup Ludwig, Santesteban, Labous, and the yellow jersey wearer, Lotte Kopecky.
In the next kilometres, Niewiadoma pulled ahead again, but with 5.7 kilometres left, Vollering attacked and quickly overtook her. The Dutch rider then pulled ahead of both Niewiadoma and the approaching Van Vleuten.
In the end, the stage victory and yellow jersey were clearly Vollering’s. She won by 1’26” over Niewiadoma, with Van Vleuten third. Reusser and Uttrup Ludwig followed, with Kopecky, the previous yellow jersey holder, seventh.
The mountain stage revealed Vollering as the top rider in the Tour de France Femmes. The 25-year-old called it “a dream come true” in a follow-up interview and wore a broad smile while receiving the yellow jersey.
2023 Tour de France Femmes Stage 7 result
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Photo credits: ASO