Not one or two, but eight stages wait for the riders in the Tour de France Femmes this year.
The Tour de France Femmes will start with a flat stage in Paris, with finish on the famous Champs-Élysées. The second stage brings the riders to Provins, where probably another sprint will decide about the stage win. One day later the first hills appear in the course on its way to Epernay. On day four the peloton will get a mix of hills and gravel sectors on its way to Bar-Sur-Aube. The fifth stage is relatively flat and the longest stage over 175,6 km from Bar-le-Duc to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. Stage six offers a new chance for the puncheurs with four categorized ascents. It is a small warm-up for the finale two stages, in which the peloton heads over the Petit Ballon, Col du Platzerwasel and the Grand Ballon in stage seven, followed by the Côte d` Esmoulieres, Ballon d`Alsace and La Super Planche des Belles Filles in the final stage.
Liv Racing Xstra brings Rachele Barbieri, Valerie Demey, Thalita de Jong, Jeanne Korevaar, Silke Smulders and Sabrina Stultiens to the start line. Wim Stroetinga and Giorgia Bronzini will be the sports directors in this race.
“It is a nice step forward for women`s cycling, which made big steps already. The riders have to realize it is really special that they will ride the first Tour de France Femmes. It will have a huge impact and it will bring a lot of attention to the sport. In the future I think it will get the same attention as the men`s edition”, Stroetinga told about the race. “We want to ride an attractive race. In the stages which will finish in a bunch sprint we will look after Rachele. In the other stages the girls will have a free role to try and show themselves in a breakaway for example. It will be important to get through the first day in a good way and deliver a good sprint as a team. If that works out good, it will be easier in the rest of the race.”
Smulders will ride her first race since months after she crashed hard in Paris-Roubaix. “It is great to be at the start of this race. It is the first Tour de France Femmes and I am there, so that is really special. Honestly I didn`t think I would make after my hard crash in Paris-Roubaix. Luckily I could do some good training in the last weeks, so I think my condition is good enough to race here. The only thing I have to get used to again is riding in the peloton. Of course I want to try and show myself, maybe in a breakaway. Of course I also want to be there for the team when we enter the finale of a stage”, Smulders said.
24/07, stage 1: Paris (Tour Eiffel) – Paris (Champs-Élysées) (81.7 km)
25/07, stage 2: Meaux – Provins (136.4 km)
26/07, stage 3: Reims – Épernay (133.6 km)
27/07, stage 4: Troyes – Bar-Sur-Aube (126.8 km)
28/07, stage 5: Bar-le-Duc – Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (175.6 km)
29/07, stage 6: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges – Rosheim (128.6 km)
30/07, stage 7: Sélestat – Le Markstein (127.1 km)
31/07, stage 8: Lure – La Super Planche des Belles Filles (123.3 km)