Women's Tour de Romandie History
The Women’s Tour de Romandie got off to a great start last season with a surprise but well-deserved win by Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. The South African managed to outclimb Annemiek van Vleuten, who’d won all 3 major GC battles in 2022 and Elisa Longo Borghini. We also saw one of the real major results from young Swiss rider Petra Stiasny. She finished 5th on the queen stage amongst exalted company.
The first stage had been won by Arlenia Sierra, the Cuban being the quickest finisher in the lead group of nearly 30 riders. The final day was something nearer to a purer sprint but with the biggest sprint names like Wiebes not there, it was Marta Lach who took her first-ever Women’s WorldTour victory.
This year’s route is going to be similar fare. There are a couple of rolling stages that should end up in a sprint, although Stage 1 might also reward a well-timed attack. Stage 2 is the one that decides the GC battle though with its summit finish.
Women's Tour de Romandie 2023 Profiles
Stage 1 Profile
Stage 2 Profile
Stage 3 Profile
Women's Tour de Romandie 2023 Contenders
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio will revisit this race as a favourite again. As other riders’ form faded in the late season, the South African could outclimb GC-winning riders for the GC win. She will be targeting the GC win again this year but doesn’t have the most obvious strong form coming into it. 11th at Plouay is solid, 13th in GC at the Tour of Scandinavia was affected by the TT. There’s also a chance we see one of her fast finishes on the rolling stages too.
Antonia Niedermaier looks like she’ll get the nod for Canyon SRAM. This season has contained near misses at the Thüringen Ladies Tour and the Giro Donne but has also been strong along the way and was 4th at the Tour de l’Avenir Femmes 2 weeks ago. The German is strong on a climb and with relatively few race days in the legs this year might be able to close the gap to the big-name favourites here. Teammate Elise Chabbey is going to want to do something on home roads as well. Normally that’s a hunt for the Queen of the Mountains jersey but I think we could see her roll the dice for a stage win. Kasia Niewiadoma will also be here too. Another rider who had to pull out of the World Championships, she came back strong at the Simac Ladies Tour finishing 6th in GC despite the pair of time trials. She was the only rider able to take the fight to SD Worx on the Cauberg, where she finished 3rd too.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig will be a GC threat after coming 2nd on home roads at the Tour de Scandinavia. It felt like at times she was bossing that race with a pair of stage victories secured and a big near miss too when the sprinters caught and passed her near the line. It’s going to be tough to beat the likes of SD Worx but the podium is a real shout at this year’s Women’s Tour de Romandie. Teammate Gladys Verhulst might also be a shot for the more sprinting stages if Uttrup Ludwig doesn’t go for them herself. There aren’t many sprinters here so there is a good chance for the more all-round riders like Verhulst to do well.
SD Worx will be full of talent as usual. Demi Vollering will be a favourite but she also left the Simac Ladies Tour early with an illness. Fully recovered it’s tough to see anyone else winning the summit finish of Stage 2. It’s probably also worth noting that Demi Vollering lives in Switzerland, so there’s a sort of home advantage at play too. If she’s not at 100% though, it’s possible that she pivots to supporting Marlen Reusser. With the Swiss racing on home roads and showing a remarkable climbing ability this season, with a bit of support from Demi she might be able to sort out a GC win for herself. There are also the likes of Plouay winner Mischa Bredewold, and Niamh Fisher-Black and Anna Shackley here to support. Last time racing in Switzerland, Fisher-Black took her first Women’s WorldTour victory and Anna Shackley was runner-up at Avenir recently too.
Lidl-Trek will be fully in for the GC here. They’ve got Elisa Longo Borghini and Gaia Realini. The Italian duo has worked well already this year to secure GC wins, I’d be tempted to go with Gaia Realini as the main GC hopeful as Longo Borghini will be racing for the first time since the Tour de France Femmes back in July. She’s had surgery on a saddle sore infection, which removed her from contention at the World Championships this year. She was 3rd here last year and whilst possible I think her teammate will have the stronger race.
Liane Lippert is in good form after 4th place in GC at the Tour of Scandinavia whilst supporting Annemiek van Vleuten. That result puts her in good stead to lead at the Tour de Romandie this year. With Van Vleuten now retired, Lippert is the future for Movistar and this will be the first race as the team’s new #1.
Team dsm-firmenich’s Juliette Labous is in some good form of her own as well. The French rider was 5th at Plouay, to go with 5th in the World’s TT and 5th in the Tour de France Femmes. Maybe 5th is likely here at the Tour de Romandie as well. Again she will be a threat on the summit finish stage mostly.
It’s the first race since May for Kristen Faulkner. In that time, the American was hit by a driver whilst riding in California. That saw her forced to have a spell in hospital and she required some mending. Her form will be wildly unknown, as is her team for 2024 as well. She could be a threat on any of these stages but after 4 months of no racing, it’s prudent to guess she might need time to find her feet. There aren’t many sprinters here so someone like Ruby Roseman-Gannon will have a real shot for a stage win. The Aussie finished 4th at the GP Plouay and followed that up with 4th on the final day of the Simac Ladies Tour. She will be able to get over the climbs better than most and give herself a shot in the finishes of the Tour de Romandie. The team also has Ane Santesteban who was 8th at the Tour de France Femmes and was looking good at the Tour of Scandinavia before testing positive for covid. If the Spanish rider is back to full fitness she will be a threat in the GC. There’s also the wildcard of Urska Zigart who seems to excel in the one-off summit finish climbs like we’ll see in this race.
Jumbo-Visma also has the twin pairing of Amber Kraak and Eva van Agt to work with. Kraak won La Perigord Ladies recently and then finished 3rd in GC at the Tour of Scandinavia too. Unfortunately for Kraak, there’s no TT here but she will still be able to climb well. Eva van Agt crashed out of the Tour de France Femmes back in July and is another returning rider at the Tour de Romandie. Kraak will get the GC lead but will be well supported by Van Agt.
A late startlist update also has Fem van Empel and Kim Cadzow added. Van Empel will be a threat on the rolling stages that are likely to end up in a sprint and has a shot at being a surprise strong climber here as well depending on the form of other riders. Kim Cadzow is one of the purest climbers in the peloton and could even lose time on Stage 1 before gaining plenty on the summit finish on Stage 2.
UAE Team ADQ is well-stocked for this race. There’s Silvia Persico who was 2nd at Grisette Grand Prix de Wallonie this week, surprisingly her first individual top-10 finish since the 2nd stage of the Tour de France Femmes almost 2 months ago. Sofia Bertizzolo was 4th in that race too and is entering a bit of late-season form. She’s been consistent throughout August and September, racking up top-10s at all levels and a podium at Plouay. She will be a threat on Stages 1 and 3. They’ve also brought Erica Magnaldi who was 2nd in GC at the Tour de l’Ardeche too for good measure. Magnaldi had a strong week, with 2nd on a pair of stages there too. Alena Ivanchenko has shown herself to be a strong threat on a summit finish like this too and was 9th in Ardeche. She might be the surprise candidate still up there late on.
It’s the countdown until her move to Jayco-AlUla for Mavi Garcia and whilst she had a slightly disappointing Tour de France Femmes, the Spanish rider has hit back since with 10th at the Worlds and 14th at Plouay despite the sprint finish there at the end. At her best, Garcia will be a big threat on the summit finish and also the GC too as a result.
Marta Lach is going to be a threat on the 2 rolling sprint stages. She’s shown herself to be in great form at the moment, winning her last 2 races at Fourmies and the Grisette Grand Prix de Wallonie. On top of that, there’s 4th at A Travers les Hauts de France and 2nd at GP Plouay too. The Pole is in truly strong form and will be a stage contender.
Yara Kastelijn will be an all-round threat here. A solid climber the rolling stages will also give her a chance too. She was consistent at the Simac Ladies Tour finishing 10th in GC and then 9th at the Grisette Grad Prix de Wallonie this week too.
Claire Steels‘ outstanding season continues here and shows no sign of slowing down just yet. She was 9th at Plouay, following on from 11th at the Tour of Scandinavia as well. We know she’ll be moving onto Movistar for next season already but there is still time to secure a strong finish for her Israel-Premier Tech Roland.
Women's Tour de Romandie 2023 Outsiders
Still on the comeback trail is Krista Doebel-Hickok. The American is still officially on the hunt for a new team in 2024 and had a solid week in Ardeche finishing 12th overall. There’s another opportunity here with a pure climb to finish that she can make the top 10 GC in one of the last races of this season.
One of the purest of climbers, so far we’ve seen Petra Stiasny get her best results on home roads. That included 7th at the Tour de Suisse this year and 5th on the queen stage of last year’s Tour de Romandie. In fairness, she was also good at the recent Tour de l’Avenir Femmes, finishing 3rd on the final day and 5th overall too.
Barbara Malcotti is another rider in some strong form after finishing 7th at the Tour de l’Avenir Femmes. A stage win on the penultimate day was the Italian’s first UCI victory as well. She won that day by going solo at the end of a rolling stage not too dissimilar to the first stage of this year’s Tour de Romandie.
Always good fun in a road race in Switzerland is Jolanda Neff. She’s a mountain bike rider but always gives a good account of herself on the road when it happens too. She won Trofeo Ponente in Rosa much earlier this season and was 5th at the Tour de Suisse last year.