The inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift begins this Sunday in Paris with 12 laps on the iconic Champs-Élysées circuit. The 2022 Women’s Tour consists of four flat stages, two hilly stages, and two mountain stages, culminating with a summit finale at La Super Planche des Belles Filles after 1,029 kilometres of racing over eight days.
Two South Africans will be on the start line; South African National Champion Frances Janse van Rensburg (Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime) and South African cycling icon Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Team SD Worx).
“I’d love to win the yellow jersey, but I’d be happy with a podium and stage win. With a balanced route over eight days, we will have to make the difference at any moment, but we have to keep in mind the Super Planche des Belles Filles. I think the yellow jersey can change several times and will be decided in the mountains on the final weekend.” ~ Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio
Stage 1: Paris Eiffel Tower to Paris Champs-Élysées, 82km
Stage 2: Meaux to Provins, 135km
Stage 3: Reims to Épernay, 133km
Stage 4: Troyes to Bar-sur-Aube, 126km
Stage 5: Bar-le-Duc to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, 175km
Stage 6: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges to Rosheim, 128km
Stage 7: Sélestat to Le Markstein, 127km
Stage 8: Lure to Super Planche des Belles Filles, 123km
The degree of difficulty of the climbs will increase over the eight days of the race. After a testing but not too tough a start on the first two stages, the road will start to rise, firstly in leaps and bounds towards Épernay, and then in the dust of the newly introduced “white roads”, on which the riders will play leapfrog through the Champagne vineyards heading for Bar-sur-Aube. After a sapping approach to the mountains between Bar-le-Duc and Rosheim with a welcome stop in between at Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will reach the main climbs in the Vosges at the start of the final weekend, with an unprecedented and undoubtedly challenging trilogy comprising the Petit Ballon, Platzerwasel and Grand Ballon, before finishing on the Markstein. Then comes the most intense moment during a breathless finale, climbing towards Super Planche des Belles Filles after crossing the historic and mythical Ballon d’Alsace.