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Van Vleuten seizes yellow jersey after dominating Tour Femmes queen stage

Vos drops out of top 10

On Saturday’s queen stage of the first Tour de France Femmes, Dutch duo Annemiek van Vleuten and Demi Vollering destroyed the field with an attack on the first of three big climbs. Three time and current Giro d’Italia champion van Vleuten, a little ill earlier in the week, went solo on the second climb to earn the big win and seize the yellow jersey from Marianne Vos, who cracked hard.

You can watch the inaugural Tour de France Femmes at FloBikes.

The Course

It was time for the first of two consecutive days in the mountains. The Tour Femmes’ penultimate day featured three Cat. 1 climbs over 127.1 km. The final ascent was Grand Ballon, 13.9 km of 6.6 percent, cresting 8 km from the line in Le Markstein and marked by a time bonus midway up. It was another hot day.

Not only did Stage 4 winner Marlen Reusser not start on Saturday because of a concussion suffered in a Stage 6 crash, but double stage winner Lorena Wiebes also abandoned Stage 7 early in the day to heal from Friday’s carnage. Wiebes was wearing Vos’s green jersey.

The first Cat. 1 was Grand Ballon’s little sister Petit Ballon, 9.4 km at 8 percent. The pace was very fast heading to its foot, with a few bids to break away.

World champion Elisa Balsamo and QOM leader Femke Gerritse skipped away, soon to be joined by 30 others. By as soon as the road kicked up, action in the yellow jersey group nullified the escape. Eighth place van Vleuten and sixth place Vollering sprang away. This move unhitched Vos.

A strong chase consisting of second place Silvia Persico, fourth place Elisa Longo Borghini, seventh place Juliette Labous and a few others formed behind the leading duo. Soon Longo Borghini was in solo pursuit. The riders were smeared all over the mountain. Vollering claimed the 10 QOM points at the peak and down the two Dutch riders went 1:30 ahead of the Italian and 2:30 over the next chase group. Vos was 5:00 behind.

Mountain 2 was Col du Platzerwasel, 7.1 km of 8.3 percent.

Van Vleuten and Vollering on Col du Platzerwasel.

Van Vleuten flew away from Vollering in the final kilometre of the ascent. With 50 km to go, van Vleuten had 1:19 over Vollering, 5:10 over Longo Borghini and 6:10 over the next group. Vos trailed by 16 minutes.

The 2019 world road champion started up Grand Ballon with a 2:00 buffer. Barring meltdown, the stage was hers. Van Vleuten, who soloed over 100 km to claim that 2019 road rainbow jersey, rode solo for 62 km to Saturday’s victory, her eighth of 2022. Vollering would wear the polka dots at the end of the day.

Sunday’s conclusion ends at the graveled top of La Super Planche des Belles Filles.

2022 Tour de France Femmes Stage 7

1) Annemiek van Vleuten (The Netherlands/Movistar) 3:47:02
2) Demi Vollering (The Netherlands/SD Worx) +3:26
3) Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark/FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope) +5:16

2022 Tour de France Femmes GC
1) Annemiek van Vleuten (The Netherlands/Movistar) 23:18:44
2) Demi Vollering (The Netherlands/SD Worx) +3:14
3) Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland/Canyon-SRAM) +4:33