33 years since the yellow jersey was last awarded to the women’s peloton at the Tour de France, today saw teams battle it out to take the coveted honour of claiming the first leader’s jersey at this year’s race – with Team DSM and Lorena Wiebes duly delivering on their favourite status.
The opening stage of the Tour de France Femmes saw the peloton tackle 13 laps of the now famous Champs-Élysées circuit, making for a fast 81-kilometre blast around the streets of Paris. As expected it was an attacking start to the day with lots of riders and teams looking to make the breakaway and fight it out for the first polka dot jersey as queen of the mountains.
Franziska Koch and Liane Lippert rode well to make sure that any larger and dangerous moves were brought back and eventually a duo managed to form out front with 60 kilometres to go. However, some of the teams that missed out weren’t happy and pulled things back ahead of the intermediate sprint where Wiebes took second place for the team. With a slowing of pace, a lone rider counter-attacked and built up an advantage that peaked at 40 seconds. Yet, once again things regrouped heading into the final 25 kilometres and the attacks started all over. A three-rider group managed to escape to fight it out for the QOM points, as the pace slowly ramped up behind in the peloton before a lone counterattack over the top would see a solo rider lead by 45 seconds at ten kilometres to go.
Commanded by road captain Pfeiffer Georgi, the team held their position firm and peeled off one by one as the pace increased. Coming around the final corner with the finish gantry in sight, it was messy in the bunch but the team delivered Wiebes to the 200 metres to go mark where she unleashed a devastating kick. Surging all the way to the line, Wiebes was able to raise her arms aloft in jubilation, celebrating an incredible win and a special moment in history for Team DSM and Women’s cycling.
“It’s amazing, the team did an amazing job,” smiled Wiebes after the finish. “As a whole team we worked towards this moment, also all of the people working hard at headquarters, so I’m really happy with the win. It was a really chaotic and long sprint. We expected Marianne would do a long sprint but I was able to kick once more, so it’s nice to win. I was quite relaxed before the start, we did everything as normal, we saw it as a normal race. Of course I was a bit nervous towards the final but I’m really happy to finish it off. It’s special to wear the yellow jersey. I think the whole team deserved this after the amazing season we have already had. We’re ready for the next days now.”
Team DSM coach Albert Timmer added: “We can be really proud and happy with the outcome of the stage today. To take the first Tour de France Femmes stage win and the yellow jersey, it is a dream come true. It’s really really impressive what the team did. We had a plan and we needed to adapt a little bit in the final, but we did it in a really good way. It shows again our strength that we ride in a smart way and in difficult situations we can come into a good position and go for it in the sprint. I’m really happy and proud of everyone.”
|1||WIEBES Lorena||Team DSM||1:54:00||50|
|2||VOS Marianne||Team Jumbo-Visma||,,||40|
|3||KOPECKY Lotte||Team SD Worx||,,||30|
|1||WIEBES Lorena||Team DSM||1:53:50|
|2||VOS Marianne||Team Jumbo-Visma||0:04|
|3||KOPECKY Lotte||Team SD Worx||0:06|
|1||WIEBES Lorena||Team DSM||70|
|2||KOPECKY Lotte||Team SD Worx||60|
|3||VOS Marianne||Team Jumbo-Visma||55|
|1||VAN DER DUIN Maike||Le Col – Wahoo||1:54:00|
|2||BOILARD Simone||St Michel – Auber93 WE||,,|
|3||GUAZZINI Vittoria||FDJ – SUEZ – Futuroscope||,,|
|1||MARKUS Femke||Parkhotel Valkenburg||2|
|2||YSLAND Anne Dorthe||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||1|
|3||Team SD Worx||,,|
|5||FDJ – SUEZ – Futuroscope||,,|
|6||Valcar – Travel & Service||,,|
|8||Trek – Segafredo||,,|
|9||Liv Racing Xstra||,,|
|10||Le Col – Wahoo||,,|