Danish rider Emma Norsgaard took a surprise victory on Friday in the Tour de France Femmes. Part of the Movistar team, she distanced herself from her breakaway companions in the last kilometre. “This is the biggest victory of my career,” she declared. She thanked those who stood by her through a challenging year, hinting at a shift in her strategy as she no longer sees herself as a sprinter.
Meanwhile, Dutch rider Charlotte Kool came in second place. Even with assistance from teammate Pfeiffer Georgi, Kool couldn’t catch up with Norsgaard, finishing just a second behind her. She shared her disappointment, calling the situation a “huge nightmare” and expressing that, despite having the sprint under control, she ended in second place.
Belgian all-rounder Lotte Kopecky of the SD Worx team secured her fifth top-5 position in six stages by coming in third. She expressed some disappointment, stating, “It’s a shame we couldn’t sprint for the win.” Nonetheless, she remained positive about her strategic decisions during the race and her opportunity to wear the yellow jersey in the upcoming queen stage.
The sixth stage of the race saw the riders tackling numerous categorised climbs. In the early stages, a breakaway formed comprising Norsgaard, Sandra Alonso and Agnieszka Skalniak-Sojka. These three worked harmoniously to keep a two-minute lead over the peloton for much of the race. And whilst it looked certain the peloton would work together and close the gap they never quite did.
Part of the reason was Charlotte Kool getting dropped on one of the Cat 4 climbs today and had to be paced back to the front by her team. That allowed the gap to the front of the race to go out again. SD Worx were around but never committed the full chase from Reusser to close the gap either. And whilst the gap looked close enough at the end a really weird last chicane corner over tram tracks, there was an inevitable crash there. With a final gap of just 1 second, a clean run-through with lead-outs might just have caught the Dane despite everything!
It was an unlucky day for Veronica Ewers who ploughed on to finish after a crash but suffered a broken collarbone. She will not start tomorrow. Another rider who won’t start tomorrow is Lotta Henttala who was disqualified for actually hanging onto the team car today.
The jersey wearers remain unchanged today.
2023 Tour de France Stage 6 result
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Photo credits: ASO