Preview of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes

© A.S.O.

The 2023 Tour de France Femmes will cover eight stages and 956 kilometres. It will start in Clermont-Ferrand on 23 July and the finale will take place in Pau on 30 July. In between are four sprinter-friendly stages, two classic sections, one mountain stage, and a time trial.

From the starting point in Clermont-Ferrand, the route leads south towards the Pyrenees. After undulating and flat stages through the Massif Central, the Auvergne and the Occitanie region, the highlight of this second Women’s Tour of France of the “modern era” is pending: a mountain finish on the Tourmalet. The mythical Pyrenean mountain will be the finish of the queen stage in 2023.

The penultimate stage of the day leads over 90 kilometres from Lannemezan via Col d’Aspin up to the Tourmalet. In all likelihood, the outcome of this stage will also be decisive for the overall classification, because on the 17-kilometre-long and difficult climb to the Pyrenean mountain above La Mongie, strong climbers can set several minutes between themselves and the competition.

Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2023 roadmap
© A.S.O.

Therefore, it is quite possible that a preliminary decision will be made after half of the stage on the Aspin and that there will be a turning point. The final time trial on the eighth day of the Tour de France Femmes leads over 22 kilometres and is predestined for the specialists in the fight against the clock.

All stages of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift

Stage 1 | 23 July | Clermont-Ferrand – Clermont-Ferrand | 124 km

Stage 1 Tour de France Femmes 2023

The opening stage starts and ends in Clermont-Ferrand and, if Tour director Marion Rousse has her way, will be made for a puncheuse. She should be manage to attack and break away at the latest ten kilometres before the finish at the Côte de la Route de Champiot, and hold the lead on the winding city course.

Stage 2 | 24 July | Clermont-Ferrand – Mauriac | 148 km

Stage 2 Tour de France Femmes 2023

A classic stage where the contenders for the yellow jersey can make their first appearance. The final section around Mauriac deploys everything the region has to offer in terms of steepness. Four categorised climbs on the final 40 kilometres, among them Côte de Trébiac (3.4 km at 5.8%), an executioner only a few hundred metres before the finish line, guarantee an exciting and dramatic race until the very end.

Stage 3 | 25 July | Collonges-la-Rouge – Montignac-Lascaux | 147 km

Stage 3 Tour de France Femmes 2023

On day three it is finally the turn of the sprinters. The main difficulty of the 147 km long stage comes early in the race: the Cote du Peyroux (4.8 km at 4%) at race kilometre 27. After that, there are some more categorised mountains, but they are shorter and less difficult to ride. However, the final 50 kilometres of this stage to the finish in the historic town of Montignac-Lascaux are quite flat and sprinter-friendly.  

Stage 4 | 26 July | Cahors – Rodez | 177 km

Stage 4 Tour de France Femmes 2023

Top sprinters won’t have a chance to win the longest stage of this Tour de France Femmes with 177 kilometres. The finale, which will be begin about 35 kilometres before the finish in Rodez, is too difficult. In short succession, four climbs – Côte de Colombiers (6.5 km at 2.2%), Côte de Moyrazès (4.6 km at 5.5%), Côte de Lavernhe (2.2 km at 7.1%) and Côte Saint-Pierre (570 m at 10.1%) – will challenge the riders. All of them are ideal to launch attacks and initiate a joint or solo escape. The fireworks are expected to be displayed in the race’s last 45 minutes.

Stage 5 | 27 July | Onet-le-Château – Albi | 124 km

Stage 5 Tour de France Femmes 2023

Sprinters versus escapees – this will be the motto of the fifth stage of the Women’s Tour of France. If the fast women manage to keep pace on the climbs and hills around Najac and Laguépie and their teams control the race, there could well be a sprint in the finish town of Albi. However, this requires a lot of energy, because the last 20 kilometres are very flat, i.e., go slightly downhill.

Stage 6 | 28 July | Albi – Blagnac | 122 km

Stage 6 Tour de France Femmes 2023

The top sprinters will not miss their last chance to win a stage in this Tour. The main difficulties, e.g., the climbs to the mountain villages of Cordes-sur-Ciel and Puycelsi, are far enough away from the finish in Blagnac to do so. In Blagnac, a good 1.1-kilometre-long finishing straight invites the very fast women to a high-speed sprint royal.

Stage 7 | 29 July | Lannemezan – Tourmalet (BA) | 90 km

Stage 7 Tour de France Femmes 2023

After a loop around the starting town of Lannemezan, the riders follow historic footsteps. They will ride the first high mountain passes of the Tour de France, which premiered in 1910. As a warm-up, the route of the queen stage first leads 12.1 kilometres up to Col d’Aspin, and then via Sainte-Marie-de-Campan and La Mongie to the Tourmalet, the “roof” of this tour with 2110 metres.

Stage 8 | 30 July | Pau – Pau (EZF) | 22 km

Stage 8 Tour de France Femmes 2023

Around Pau, the final 22k time trial will take place on a curved course. The biggest difficulty will be the pacing, because a climb in the middle of the stage with 1.8 kilometres and a gradient of 5.5 percent as well as the ascent to the finish will make it harder for riders to pace themselves. In terms of length, it is a course on which specialists like Ellen van Dijk, Marlen Reusser & Co. will feel comfortable on.

© all stage profiles: A.S.O.