Home > News

What you need to know about the ‘first’ Tour de France Femmes

A closer look at the 2022 route

La Course By Tour de France 2021 Photo by: A.S.O./Aurélien Vialatte

Two weeks ago, the pro women raced in the first-ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes. In 2022, many of those riders will mark another historic occasion for professional female cyclists: they’ll have their own Tour de France. Although there was a Tour de France Feminine more than 30 years ago, an actual Tour de France for women has floundered, with smaller iterations stopping and starting since. Christophe Prudhomme is confident that this Tour de France Femmes will last. “The goal is to organize a race that will stay, that will still exist in 100 years,” he said.

The six Canadian riders who made history at the Tour de France Feminin

The 2022 version will be 1,029 km throughout eight stages. It has two mountain stages, four stages for the sprinters, and two that would suit rouleurs. Just like the men’s race, women will compete for four iconic jerseys: the yellow for GC leader, the green for best sprinter, polka-dots for best climber and white jersey for best young rider.

The Stages of Tour de France Femmes

Although the men finish in Paris, the TdF Femmes will start with an 82-km race around the City of Lights, finishing on the famous Champs Elysées. Riders will not only be fresh and hungry for the stage, but for the first yellow jersey. The strong teams will most likely be controlling the action as much as possible. The winner will probably come from a bunch sprint. Could Marianne Vos add the yellow jersey to her collection?

That being said, the jersey will most likely change hands the next day from Meaux to Provins with a 135-km race that ends in a tough false-flat climb. It may be a good day for someone like the Danish rider Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.

Stage 3 will hit the hills with five climbs as they head into Epernay. The finish is uphill and will most likely set the tone for the rest of the race. A rider like Ashley Moolman Pasio could be one to watch as the riders head upward. Whoever is wearing the jersey in Stage 4 will need to have a strong team, as the climbing gets even tougher with six ascents, plus four rough sections of road in the last half of the race, as they head toward finish in Troyes to Bar-sur-Aube.

The next day is the longest stage of the race, at 175 km. If the top teams control the race, it may come down to a bunch sprint. Stage 6 could be a race for opportunists to take advantage of the GC battle and a breakaway could escape on one of the climbs, notably Côte de Boersch. That being said, if a break gets away on the final climb, they could stay away to the flat finish. Could we see Canada’s Alison Jackson take a TdF win? A rider like Annemiek van Vleuten would also be a good bet to add a Tour stage or two to her palmares.

There will be no time trial in this year’s Tour de France Femmes, possibly to the chagrin of Olympic champ van Vleuten or double world ITT champ Ellen van Dijk. However, both Stage 7 and 8 finish on climbs and will most likely shatter the field. Unlike the men’s race, which traditionally finishes on an “easy” ride to Paris, the women will have no such luxury.

Stage 8 is 123 km long and will take on two tough ascents, before the uphill slog to the line in la Planche des Belles Filles. With all the climbing, there will be no room for error, and whoever is poised to keep yellow will have to have great legs the entire stage, all the way to the finish.