Last year’s rebooted Tour de France Femmes saw 6 British riders take part and in 2023’s edition that number has grown to 10 riders. 4 riders from 2022 are returning, Joss Lowden is away on maternity leave at the moment and her Uno-X teammate Hannah Barnes hasn’t been selected. That gives us 6 new riders for this year’s Tour de France Femmes – Lizzie Deignan, Claire Steels, Alice Barnes, Josie Nelson, Alice Towers & April Tacey.
British riders were actually fairly quiet in 2022, mainly through working for team leaders. Which makes for a best stage position of 19th by Anna Henderson and a best overall position of 36th by Lizzie Holden. These statistics will surely be beaten with the likes of Claire Steels going for GC and Lizzie Deignan surely up for some stage-winning efforts.
Going back into the history books, there is Millie Robinson who won a one-off women’s Tour de France in 1955. In the Tour de France Féminin race during the 1980s, Claire Greenwood finished 7th in GC in 1984 but a Brit never won a stage of that edition of the women’s Tour de France.
British Riders in the 2023 Tour de France Femmes
The former world champion missed out on racing in last year’s race because she was on maternity leave. Deignan won an edition of the forerunner to the Tour de France Femmes in 2020’s La Course and will want to take a stage win to add to the palmares too. She will have to balance working for GC leader Elisa Longo Borghini though but there are plenty of lumpy stages here that will reward attacking racing and give opportunities.
Back in the national champion bands this year is Pfeiffer Georgi. She’s another who will have to work for a leader in Charlotte Kool, one the strongest sprinters in the peloton. However, there will be stages where Kool can’t follow over the climbs and Georgi will become a threat after a strong classics season. This year’s Brugge-De Panne winner, she also finished in the top 10 across nearly all of the major classics this year.
Anna Henderson had a good warm-up for the Tour de France Femmes by racing in the Baloise Ladies Tour. The Jumbo-Visma rider finished 3rd in GC there after consistently finishing in the top-10 5 times in 6 stages. The highlight of the season so far has been wearing the leader’s red jersey back at the Vuelta Femenina as the first rider on the team to cross the line during an opening TTT stage.
Claire Steels has had a great 2023 season after moving to Israel-Premier Tech Roland from Sopela. She’s won at reVolta, the first UCI victory of her career. Steels looked strong back at the national championships, always attacking and eventually finishing 2nd. She’s arguably a stronger one-day racer but will be knocking on the top-10 of the GC here.
Natalie Grinczer joined Lifeplus-Wahoo this month from the struggling Stade Rochelais team. A solid climber, she was 6th at nationals with a best result of 5th at GP Ciudad de Eibar. She’s gone straight into the team for the Tour de France Femmes and may emerge as their highest rider on GC by the end of the Tour de France Femmes.
2023 has been a little bit of a quieter year for Lizzie Holden but she did become national time trial champion for the first time. The results hide how much she’s done for team leaders, however. That should be similar here with Silvia Persico and Erica Magnaldi more like to finish high up on GC and Lizzie Holden will help guide them there.
Once a decent sprinter, Alice Barnes doesn’t have a non-TT result better than 29th so far in 2023. Racing for Human Powered Health, she might get opportunities or she might be leading out Marjolein van ‘t Geloof or Audrey Cordon-Ragot.
Josie Nelson has had a tough 2023 season with crashes. She looked very strong in the early part of the year, finishing 4th at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. She was in the front group at Omloop van het Hageland when she crashed, taking her out of racing for 6 weeks and then being behind the curve. Another big crash at the Vuelta Femenina saw her unable to race fully for the rest of May. We did start to see her come back to form at the Baloise Ladies Tour.
Alice Towers is another rider who helps out her team more often than not. Her best individual result of the season has been 23rd at Paris Roubaix Femmes but she helped Canyon SRAM to 2nd on the opening day TTT at the Vuelta Femenina. Until June, she was racing in the British stripes having taken the biggest win of her career at the 2022 national championships.
The second British rider on Lifeplus-Wahoo, April Tacey has been developing nicely into a rider with a fast finish in the smaller classics. The best result has been 9th at Scheldeprijs, a famously flat race but also spends time assisting team leaders a lot. Any top-20 stage finishes would be a great result, especially considering there was only 1 from a Brit in 2022.
Which British riders are in the 2023 Tour de France Femmes?
- Lizzie Deignan
- Pfeiffer Georgi
- Anna Henderson
- Claire Steels
- Natalie Grinczer
- Lizzie Holden
- Josie Nelson
- Alice Barnes
- Alice Towers
- April Tacey