The long-awaited announcement of the 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift route was received with excitement from the majority of the women’s peloton. The ASO, which organizes the event, flew a few of the top women to the announcement in Paris, and as such, the likes of Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SD Worx), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) were in attendance to weigh in.
All three, along with riders waiting around the globe with bated breath, reacted favourably to a route that has a little bit of everything.
“I love it. It’s a really well-balanced course and there’s something for everyone,” Moolman Pasio said of the route reveal. “There are short stages, long stages. There is gravel, punchy stages and then the Queen stage up La Planche des Belles Filles. That’s obviously the one that I’m most excited for. I think it’s going to keep everyone on the edge of their seats until the last stage.”
“I can’t wait to make history,” Moolman Pasio added on her social media.
Before the expansion of the race, the women just had the one-day event, La Course by the Tour de France. The route would change yearly and each year would offer a stage for a selection of riders. In the first few years, the sprinters enjoyed a fast race on the Champs Elysees, there were mountainous races for pure climbs and explosive races for the rouleur types. Eight stages offer eight opportunities to win on the world’s biggest stage.
La Course by the Tour de France offered only one day and no yellow jersey. The new stage race will attract a host of new viewers, fans who tune in for one race a year, the men’s Tour de France.
“I’m so excited. I mean this is a day that we’ve waited for, for a long time. We’re getting our own Tour de France for women and it’s a great day for women’s cycling,” Uttrup Ludwig said. “Everyone dreams of having that yellow jersey on, it’s so iconic. Everyone knows what the Tour de France is. My grandmother knows what the Tour de France is and now when people ask if I do the Tour de France I can say yes. We’re part of history.”
Since the announcement that the women would get their own Tour de France, speculation of the route has been top of everyone’s mind. Of course, many women dream of dawning the iconic yellow jersey, and only the perfect course lies between a riders dream and what is actually possible.
Amanda Spratt, who ended a disappointing 2021 season with the news that the Team BikeExchange rider would need surgery to correct iliac artery endofibrosis, is already looking forward to the 2022 Tour de France Femmes, and what will hopefully be a fantastic season.
With a variety of stages suited to every rider, sprinters are just as excited as climbers.
One of the hot favourites for the overall yellow jersey will be Olympic time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten, who was pleased with the amount of opportunities for everyone.
“I feel happy the organisation took it seriously,” Van Vleuten said. “With this route, they made an effort to organize something good and representative. From a quick look, they did a good job in having something for everyone in these eight days of racing.”
That said, the former World Champion was not so impressed with the inclusion of gravel, sayig, “It feels a bit of a lottery, too risky, for a race like that.”
The Tour de France Femmes could be a turning point in women’s cycling, in terms of viewer numbers and incoming sponsor dollars. The route is only one aspect of the action, it’s up to the women’s peloton to put on a show – and with the amount of hype and anticipation surrounding the eight-day event the likelihood of chaos is high.