With the announcement of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes route this week, Marion Rousse, the race director is keen to press that this year’s route has been built with feedback about last year’s race. The final weekend of last year’s race was a brutal affair with 2 days of tough climbing in the Vosges recent of France. The easier stages leading up to it had limited effect on the general classification, other than the gravel stage lottery which stopped Mavi Garcia’s hopes. Annemiek van Vleuten used the penultimate stage to Le Markstein as an opportunity to kill the GC race, going solo from a long way out. The gaps were huge and many riders struggled to make the time limit cut off.
The final of 2023’s route sees riders take on the Col du Tourmalet before finishing with a 22km time trial in Pau. The reactions of riders who were mostly in France for the presentation were positive, with climbers particularly happy with the climb up the Tourmalet and there is mostly something for everyone. The stages don’t contain many blockbuster climbs but plenty of up and downs to make the stages surprisingly difficult. There are probably 2 nailed-on sprint stages, with at least 2 more possibly coming down to reduced bunch sprints but could play out differently too.
“We tried to make a balanced course and I think we succeeded. We have listened to the experiences of the riders last year and think that the race will remain exciting until the last minute.
The idea is to gradually increase the intensity of the course and keep the tension in it as much as possible. If you look at the course, there are stages that seem flat but are in practice more difficult than last year.”Marion Rousse, Tour de France Femmes race director