This year’s Vuelta Femenina, formerly known as the Ceratizit Challenge and Madrid Challenge is having a revamp. Extra stages and a calendar move to May has seen the race potentially start to take on the mantle its men’s namesake commands. Arguably the weakest of the so-called grand tours of the women’s cycling calendar, the race is trying to make steps to close the gap.
The 2023 race has received criticism from some quarters for not announcing its route in plenty of time. We now know some hints but the full race announcement won’t be known until 28th February 2023. Sebastian Unzue of Movistar said that it showed a lack of respect to the riders by not sharing the race route early enough. Riders are therefore unable to prepare and recon any important details until their already packed schedules are filled.
This year’s race will start by the Mediterranean Sea in Torrevieja. It also held the start of the men’s Vuelta a Espana in 2019. That day Astana won a team time trial. The full race will contain 7 stages for the first time and take place between May 1st and May 7th 2023. From the details known so far, the race will snake its way from the southeast up to the north of Spain, just missing Madrid in the middle along the way. The final weekend should contain the majority of the climbing and decide the GC. There’s an expected finish at Lagos de Covadonga, a 12.5km climb at 6.9% that saw Primoz Roglic win at the summit in 2021.
Annemiek van Vleuten won the 2022 Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta.