‘We will have our share of mythical passes’: Riders react to the 2023 TDFF route

From the top GC contenders to the domestiques and stage hunters, what do some of the riders think of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes route?

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Some of them were at the route presentation, some were still on their off season holidays, but what do the riders think of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift route?

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)

“I’m not scared of those early stages, but they will be tricky, you need to stay focussed,” she insisted. “But that is no different to 2022 when I had to survive six stages and recover from my illness. It will be hard and sometimes hard to control, so I will also need my team. But that, in the end, is also the Tour de France.” [Ed- is this the earliest ‘the Tour is the Tour ever?!]

“It’s important to have a famous, hard long climb because the Tour de France for men also has a hard climb and it’s nice to see they added this one. It’s high altitude and it also suits me quite well.

“Belles Filles was hard but not the mountains,” she argued about the final weekend format, “now with the time trial the course is more complete. So [2023] is an upgrade.”

Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx)

“I think it’s again a challenging course and I think it will be already very exciting in the beginning. I think you need to be out of trouble there to be ready for the one big mountain stage. There’s only one big mountain stage, not like last year when we had two, but I think it will be very exciting still. We also have a time trial this year which is a really nice thing to add. I think it will be interesting again and it will of course be pretty hectic already in the first stages, we saw that already last year. You need to survive for the big day with the Tourmalet in it. I can’t wait to do recons there and see more of the course.”

Marta Cavalli (FDJ SUEZ-Futuroscope)

“I really like the first part of the course, with a few very nice stages, and then the Tourmalet. I’m really looking forward to it! Last year is already forgotten, I want to come back.”

Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM)

“I think it will be really interesting with a lot of different stages – a mountaintop finish and then also a TT at the end. It will stay open to the end for the yellow jersey. Stage 2 is already quite hard and quite hilly so I think it will already be open from the beginning of the Tour and that also makes it super interesting. The Tourmalet is quite a famous mountain in France. I know it from different years in the men’s Tour de France and I also rode it once, but a long time ago, so I don’t really remember but I remember it was hard.

Urška Žigart (Team BikeExchange-Jayco)

“I think it will be a bit different to last year. Now everybody knows what to expect, we know that there will be a fight every day and it’s special to win a stage/wear the jersey. The first few stages look a bit more on the flat side [miss girl wtf did u see stage 2] but I think that the stage to the cathedral in Rodez will be a bit harder than it looks on paper. And then when we hit the mountains in the Pyrenees there’s no hiding. The Tourmalet is a big test for everybody. Then the time trial in Pau, I was surprised by that but I think it rounds out the parcours nicely so it will be fun and full on until the last day.

Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon//SRAM)

“The 2023 course will be really exciting until the end. It looks nice, they did a good job. On stage 8 we have the time trial, that’s new, and it’s good that they put the time trial in it and you can still make a difference in the time trial. It’s 22 km in Pau so that will be a tough finish. To be honest I like the hard courses, the hilly stages, [I’m] excited for the breakaway riders, so those stages but also stage seven is quite a steep uphill finish and long. That’s a nice stage.”

Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo)

“We are on the same path as last year: a super-balanced Tour with stages for everyone. There will perhaps be only one really very tough stage with the Tourmalet, that won’t be a gift, at least not for me! Besides that, we will have stages favourable to breakaways, quite hilly, a few stages for pure sprinters. For me, it’s the ideal Tour plus a time trial on the last day, so it’s great.

The Tourmalet is one of the mythical passes of the Tour de France. We had the chance to ride the Izoard on La Course by Le Tour. It is also to show that we are able to climb these big passes: we started with the Planche des Belles Filles, we are going on the Tourmalet. Every year, we will have our share of mythical passes, and that’s very good.”

Jolien d’Hoore, retired rider and directeur sportif at AG Insurance NXTG

“I like that there is a time trial on the final day. It’s good for the excitement of the general classification. ⁣As a team we will line up with one goal in mind: the GC for Ashleigh. We have all the quality and experience we need in the AG Insurance-NXTG team to support her as best we can.”⁣

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