As the European cycling season marches on, the women’s peloton descends upon the picturesque commune of Fourmies, in northern France. The 2023 GP Fourmies Women is quickly shaping up to be a cornerstone event in women’s cycling, attracting a roster of formidable talent. In this article, we spotlight the riders poised to make a definitive impact on this year’s GP Fourmies race. Hosted since 2019 as a 1.2 (with a year’s gap in 2020 due to Covid), it has seen a variety of winners including Thi That Nguyen, Pfeiffer Georgi and Clara Copponi.
French National Prospects: Clara Copponi and Gladys Verhulst
French cycling has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance recently, with younger riders taking centre stage. Clara Copponi and Gladys Verhulst encapsulate this new wave of French talent. Copponi’s recent spate of impressive results makes her a rider to keep an eye on and is last year’s GP Fourmies Women winner, while Verhulst brings a blend of experience and power to the table. Copponi is more of a purer sprinter out of the pair with Verhulst a strong one-day racer. Their participation also serves as a testament to the growing depth and quality of women’s cycling in France, a factor that could play a significant role in the race dynamics. With both riders on the same team this year, that allows FDJ-Suez to have plenty of cards to play.
Emerging Talent: Victoire Berteau, Valentine Fortin, and Marie-Morgane Le Deunff
Few names have gained as much traction this season as Victoire Berteau, Valentine Fortin, and Marie-Morgane Le Deunff. These rising stars of French cycling have shown a remarkable ability to hold their own against more experienced competitors. Berteau, in particular, has displayed a knack for timing her attacks to perfection, winning the French national championship while Fortin’s sprinting capabilities in smaller one-day races have allowed her to take some strong results in recent weeks. Fortin also finished 4th in last year’s GP Fourmies. Meanwhile, Le Deunff is a little bit younger but is turning into a regular top-10 finisher in French one-day races this season. Their rising profiles are indicative of a new generation eager to challenge the status quo in women’s cycling.
Yulia Biriukova: Ukraine’s Versatile Talent
In a peloton filled with emerging talent and established stars, Yulia Biriukova of Ukraine is also starting to make a bigger name for herself this year. With a skill set that includes strong time-trialling and climbing, Biriukova is a versatile asset that adds an element of unpredictability to the race. 3rd place at GP Eibar, along with 6th in GC at the Vuelta a Andalucia underpin her ability to do well on rolling terrain. Biriukova’s ability to adapt and react could very well tilt the balance of power during crucial moments.
Belgian Firepower: Marthe Truyen
Belgium’s contingent at the GP Fourmies Women is led by Marthe Truyen. She has been a consistent performer in Continental level races this year, in particular Belgian one-day races. Also she shows particular promise in hillier terrain. Truyen is someone who can’t be ruled out when considering potential race winners. Her diverse skill set and her knack for seizing opportunities make her a legitimate contender, one whose every move will be keenly watched.
On-the-Rise Contenders: Simone Boilard and Cristina Tonetti
While not as well-known as some of their contemporaries, recent GP Oetingen winner Simone Boilard and the emerging Cristina Tonetti are riders with potential. Boilard has consistently found herself on the podium, while Tonetti’s results earlier this season in particular make her a contender in any race. Both have shown glimpses of future greatness, suggesting that they’re just a race win or two away from becoming bigger names in the sport.
Under-the-Radar Contenders: Valentina Basilico and Sterre Vervloet
Riders like Valentina Basilico and Sterre Vervloet may not have the same star power as some of the others on this list, but they have the potential to pull off a surprise. Basilico has finished in the top ten in several races this season, often mixing it up with more celebrated riders. Vervloet, meanwhile, has shown a penchant for launching daring attacks. Their stealthy yet effective tactics could catch the star-studded lineup off guard, making for an unpredictable race. Her stronger time trial background makes an attack from Vervloet more likely than a sprint.
The 2023 GP Fourmies Women is set to be a great race, replete with a host of riders capable of taking home the victory. With the likes of Copponi, Verhulst, Berteau, and many more lining up, the event promises an exciting finish.