Preview: What you need to know about stage 8 of the 2022 Tour de France Femmes

One stage remains. Can anyone unseat Van Vleuten and take yellow?

by Abby Mickey

Date: Sunday, July 30
Start: Lure
Finish: La Super Planche des Belles Filles
Distance: 123.3 km

The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift came and went in a flash. Seriously, how is it possible that only a week ago the women were racing on the Champs Élysées?! There is one stage remaining, and it may not be as challenging as the previous stage, but there are bound to be fireworks.

Stage 7 was nuts, which will play into how stage 8 is raced. Few riders will have the energy to try and jump in a breakaway or chase one down. The likelihood of a move going early on is high. Unfortunately, with the climbing starting already 50ish kilometres into the stage, there’s not a lot of time to gain a significant advantage before Annemiek van Vleuten hits the slopes.

The women will race one category two climb followed by two category one climbs. They climbs aren’t as long as stage 7, so that should make for more dynamic racing, hopefully.

The Côte d’Esmoullières is only 2.3 km long and not that steep at an 8.5% average. Next is the Ballon d’Alsace, 8.7 km long with a 6.9% average, but with some steeper sections. There’s a good amount of breathing room between the two, so the race * might not * go to pieces on the first climb and be over before the live coverage starts rolling.

After descending off the second climb, the peloton will race up the big one, La Super Planche des Belles Filles. Seven kilometres long with some brutally steep sections and some gravel. It’s going to be Super fun (see what I did there).

Who will win stage 8?

If we’re being honest, Annemiek van Vleuten is going to win. Her victory on stage 7 proved that she is head and shoulders above the rest of the peloton on the climbs, and with a mountain top finish, it’s hard to see anyone beating her.

Van Vleuten leads Demi Vollering in the general classification by 3’14”, and as great as it would be to see Vollering take stage 8, it’s unlikely Van Vleuten would ever let the SD Worx rider get the space to do so. Perhaps Vollering’s teammate Ashleigh Moolman Pasio can take the stage. After losing nearly 14 minutes on stage 7, she is not a GC threat.

A few strong climbers are now so far behind Van Vleuten that Movistar might let them slip into a breakaway. Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) is a decent climber and is nearly 12 and a half minutes down. Her teammate Pauliena Rooijakkers would also be a good option for a stage victory.

Perhaps FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope could net another stage win with Évita Muzic. The young Frenchwoman looked good on stage 7 and has found herself in winning breakaways in the past.

Even if some strong riders can get up the road early, the climbs in the race’s second half are long enough that Van Vleuten would likely catch them before the line. But the race is never over until it’s over, so we will have to wait and see.

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