Plantur Femmes Tour: Female riders pre-test the women’s Tour de France course
For the first time in 14 years, a real Tour de France for women will take place again in 2022. The women’s Tour de France covers eight stages and around 1,000 kilometres from the start at the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the finish at the Super Planche des Belles Filles at the end of July.
Reason enough to bring to life the Plantur Femmes Tour in the course of which six hand-picked female amateur cyclists explore the route in June already and master the highlights of the Tour de France Femmes such as the ride through the Champagne region, the gravel sectors, as well as the climbs in the Alsace region and the legendary final mountain passage in the Vosges as a team.
To avoid the pros’ typical bus transfers the route was adapted a little so that each new stage starts where the previous one finished.
Plantur Femmes Tour: eight stages plus prologue
Prologue: Arc de Triomphe – Château de Vincennes | 11.5 km
Stage 1: Château de Vincennes – Sézanne | 109 km/ 530 hm
Stage 2: Sézanne – Épernay | 133 km/1,200 hm
Stage 3: Épernay – Troyes | 101 km/370 hm
Stage 4: Troyes – Chaumont | 138 km/1,400 hm
Stage 5: Chaumont – Saint-Dié-des-Vosges | 165 km/1,510 hm
Stage 6: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges – Sélestat | 61.5 km/980 hm
Stage 7: Sélestat – Le Markstein | 137 km/3,000 hm
Stage 8: Le Markstein – La Super Planche des Belles Filles | 87 km/1,900 hm
The six participants of the Plantur Femmes Tour
Lara’s very first road bike tour led straight to the “moon”, i.e., to the barren white lunar landscape of Mont Ventoux to be precise. A buddy who visited her during a stay in France persuaded her to do it. Lara, who lives in Munich, used to go mountain biking with her father from time to time, but she had never sat on a road bike before.
Although it was exhaustingly warm when she climbed the mythical Tour mountain in the Provence region, she caught fire. This was about three years ago.
Since she’s come to love cycling so much that she considers life without bikes pointless. She is a founding member and guide of the Munich-based Female Cycling Force and an Alpecin Ride Captain in the Bavarian capital. Whether she travels for fun or for business, she always finds an opportunity to get in some bike kilometres – on vacation preferably in the Tuscany region or on Mallorca.
She loves to ride at the front of a pack of fellow female riders, just as much as she loves speedy downhill rides.
What fascinates her most about cycling – besides the speed and the challenge that is innate to riding – is to be close to nature and the range of motion, i.e., that even far away destinations are within reach by using mere muscle power.
When Marie-Louise from the British city of Bath was a child, she had rather mixed feelings when it came to cycling. Her parents used to take her with them on their tandem bike, but when she turned a teenager, she swore she would never ride a bike again because to her it seemed really “not a cool thing to do”.
This was, however, before her family decided to take part in a triathlon race, and Marie-Louise had to get on the saddle again to do so. The intended “once in a lifetime” venture has since become a regularity in her life, with many starts i triathlon- and cycling races and a membership in a local British women’s team.
She loves about road cycling that it allows to go for extremes – smooth and relaxed or full throttle. She enjoys both.
Just as much as she likes going on adventure rides on her bike. She is particularly fond of the climbs in Italy.
Corona has given Johanna’s cycling passion another push. Although she has been riding a road bike since 2014, it became her pillar of strength during lockdown. “It was the first time I rode all by myself,” she admits. Before she was always accompanied by her father or her boyfriend, both of whom got her into road cycling.
She is particularly fond of riding mountain passes in the Alps. Together with her boyfriend, she’s already climbed many mountain legends in France, Italy and Switzerland.
The electrical engineer has come to share the fascination and happiness she experiences while cycling – “I become one with my bike and only associate positive thoughts with cycling” – on Instagram since Corona started: at pervelo.cc. However, “I don’t ride for Instagram. I ride because I enjoy it; and I share this joy when I feel like it.”
Melina lives in the German cycling capital of Münster – and therefore was literally born with a love for bicycles. At the age of ten, she was already trail surfing on a mountain bike in Norway, later on she went cycling as a past-time activity on vacation. But it was only when she bought a cyclocross bike back in 2017 that she discovered her true love for cycling. She quickly became an advocate of the “N+1 theory”, which is very popular among cyclists – and her cyclocross bike got joined by a road bike.
From this it was only a mini step to competitive cycling. Melina loves the great variety that cycling offers and takes every opportunity to try something new – classic training rides, bike packing tours or races. That’s why she became Alpecin Ride Captain for the Allgäu region in 2022.
Speaking of variety – she is curious to learn how a group of girls who have only met briefly via calls but have never ridden a single kilometre together will get along under Tour de Femmes conditions.
And off he went! Nora always felt a sense of longing when she watched her boyfriend go for a ride on his road bike. “I wanted to know what he was experiencing and what it felt like to ride a road bike,” says the online marketing manager who lives in Vienna. That’s why she once joined him for a ride – handicap included, because unlike her boyfriend’s light racer, the city bike she rode on was quite heavy. Exhausted, but not demotivated, she wanted more; she borrowed a friend’s road bike – and was hooked immediately. That was in the summer of 2017, and since Nora Helene has been riding, no matter the weather. When she sits on the saddle she enjoys getting ahead quickly, but at the same time to be more aware of her surroundings and explore them more closely than ever.
She shares the experience she collects on training rides, but also in races such as the “Race around Austria”, as “Unicorn Cycling” on Instagram and on her blog – and when asked by the media she also happily states her opinion.
She will ride the tour through France on her Cannondale SuperSix, that she nicknamed SuSi.
Linda is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to sports. Therefore, it was just a matter of time until she would end up riding a road bike. In addition to running, yoga, snowboarding, cross-fit and many other indoor and outdoor activities, Linda, who lives in Munich, has also been a part of the local road bike community for a few years and even founded her own group about a year ago: the Female Cycling Force, which meets for road bike rides before and after work.
“A road bike covers long distances in a short time, and when all goes well you just let it roll at high speed – it’s so much fun,” she says. She also likes how group members support each other.
The initial spark that kindled her cycling passion was one of the greats of this sport: Fabian Cancellara. She went on her first tour with “Spartacus” as part of the Laureus Sport Awards and was quickly intrigued by the silent moving forward on narrow tyres. Her Specialized Aethos that she will bring to France is called Rosalie for a reason. Her first bike was a purple Specialized Venge with glittery paint that she named Edward after the character from the vampire series Twilight, as: “Edward, too, glitters in the sunlight,” says Linda. And the name of Edward’s sister is Rosalie.