Today saw the unveiling of the 2022 Tour de France Femmes route, a race restarted after a long period of rest. The race centres on the top right corner of France, taking in the Champagne, Alsace and Vosges regions. We won’t see the women’s peloton take on the Alps nor of the Pyrenees but the Vosges mountains are a decent start nonetheless.
Starting in Paris with the old La Course route around the Champs Elysees, the women will share a platform with the last day of the men’s race. From there on, the women have their own race to be the centre of attention. Stage 2 feels like it will be a sprint. With Stage 3 potentially also a sprint, although Mont Bernon might act as a launchpad too for an attack. Stage 4 should see the first GC action with a few climbs to help split up the peloton. There are also gravel sections through the vineyards to encourage splits in the peloton.
Stage 5 has the potential for a sprint finish but the Col du Haut du Bois will need to be negotiated. The Cote de Boersch near the end of Stage 6 will give puncheur another launchpad for late attacks. Then Stages 7 & 8 will see the real GC battle take place. All the previous time differences will probably be wiped out by the climb of Grand Ballon d’Alsace, although there’s some flat to the actual finish. Stage 8 will be a genuine summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles though!
So the battle for the Tour de France Femmes general classification will come down to those who climb the best, with no TT to worry about, genuine climbers need not worry about losing time against the clock. Sprinters have plenty of opportunities for stage victories and the puncheurs also get a shot at winning stages too. Breakaway specialist riders will also be licking their lips in anticipation!