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Tour de France Femmes 2023 wildcards announced

Annemiek van Vleuten Tour de France Femmes winner 2022 Thomas_Maheux

The 2023 Tour de France Femmes line-up of teams has been announced today. There are few surprises but at least one well-known team hasn’t made the cut. That’s largely in part due to the reduction in the number of teams attending from 24 in last year’s edition to 22 in 2023. The demise of Valcar Cycling over the 2022/2023 off-season is one obvious difference but it also leaves some teams close to the edge when it comes to getting an invite.

The 15 Women’s WorldTour teams are all invited by default and naturally accepted their invitations. There are also 2 Continental teams who received mandatory invites to all WorldTour races this season – Ceratizit WNT and Lifeplus-Wahoo. That leaves just 5 spots for any other Continental teams to join the race. 4 French teams were included last year but this year it will be only 3 wildcards (+ FDJ-Suez as a WWT invite). Arkea, Cofidis and St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 all will race again in 2023 but Stade Rochelais miss out. The yellow and black team finished the 2022 race with just 1 rider.

AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step has been included again, their strengthening of the roster to include the likes of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio this off-season and WorldTour aspirations definitely helped them get a spot. The last decision was between Parkhotel Valkenburg and Team Coop-Hitec Products, and it’s the Norwegian team who gets to race their first Tour de France Femmes after a stronger start to the 2023 season. Last year Parkhotel Valkenburg were a mandatory invitation and without that security, this year has just missed out.

One of the talking points was whether Zaaf Cycling would be included. Earlier on in the season, when they were performing very strongly and had the French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot in their ranks, it looked like a sure bet. However, that began to unravel in the last month as riders began to talk about non-payment of salaries and started to leave the team. Once Cordon-Ragot joined Human Powered Health, it felt like the days were numbered for Zaaf’s chances of riding the Tour de France Femmes. The team does still have an invite for the ASO-organised Vuelta Feminina at the start of May, however.