The route for the 2023 Tour de France Femmes has been announced, with a very different parcours to the rebooted 2022 version of the race. Starting in the Massif Central in Clermont-Ferrand, the race will loop back to the start after 124km. A late sting in the tail comes at the Cote de Durtol (1.7km at 7.2%), which is positioned 9km from the finish. Stage 2 will also start in Clermont-Ferrand, taking in 148km on its way to Mauriac. It won’t be one for the sprinters as the stage is peppered with short climbs and then finishes with 3.4km at 5.8% on the Cote de Trébiac.
Stage 3 should be the first chance for the sprinters, however. Collonges-La-Route to Montignac-Lascaux will be 147km of racing and whilst there are some shorter climbs earlier on in the stage, the late part is perfectly flat and should see Lorena Wiebes likely take a win here. Stage 4 feels perfect for any of those punchy climbers like Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig or Liane Lippert. The end is sawtooth-like with 4 late climbs. The final of which is at the finish at Rodez after a very long 177km of racing – the Cote Saint-Pierre (570m at 10.1%) will decide the stage.
Stage 5 of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes feels like it suits a breakaway attempt with enough climbing to put off some of the sprinters, despite the relatively easy finale. There is just enough in there to make controlling the race for a sprint tough but the likes of Marianne Vos or Lotte Kopecky could still be there at the end for a reduced group sprint. The next day sees the final chance for a sprint win. The flattest day of the race between Albi and Blagnac, This again feels like a Wiebes stage win.
Stage 7 sees the queen stage with a 90km blast up the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet. It’s the first real hammer blow that Van Vleuten will be able to put down and knowing her, she will attack early on the Aspin and then put a whole load of time into her rivals like Demi Vollering on the HC climb of the Tourmalet. She won’t be able to go too deep into the red however as the final day sees a 22km time trial around Pau. It’s just long enough and lumpy enough that we could see some GC movement still. We assume Annemiek Van Vleuten will have the race won here but the management of effort across the 8 days will be key to the overall GC success.
Other changes also include the team sizes. A new UCI rule will allow for 7 riders to take part this year compared to 6 riders at the 2022 Tour de France Femmes.