Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) is the best climber and the first winner of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. The Dutch star claimed her second victory in two days, on Sunday, as she tamed the gruelling ascent to La Super Planche des Belles Filles to secure the overall victory. Again, Demi Vollering (SD Worx) was runner-up at the summit to also secure the 2nd place in the overall standings and the polka-dot jersey as Queen of the Mountains. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram) rounds up the GC podium of this first Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift after 8 days of intense racing since the start in Paris.
The final showdown starts with fast battles as early as the 109-woman peloton (without Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Anna Henderson) start from Lure. The peloton cover almost 40km in the first hour and no break manages to get away.
Garcia and Chabbey on the move
New attacks fly on the first ascent of the day, the cat-2 Côte d’Esmoulières (summit at km 52.5) but Demi Vollering (SD Worx) brings the main GC riders back to the front as she sprints for the QOM points to strengthen her stranglehold on the polka-dot jersey.
After the summit, 10 attackers manage to open a gap, including two members of the GC top-10, Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ, 9th +12’06’’) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing, 10th +12’24’’). They are joined by Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo), Paula Patiño (Movistar), Grace Brown (FDJ Suez Futuroscope), Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma), Liane Lippert (Team DSM), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon//Sram), Yara Kastelijn (Plantur Pura) and Coralie Demay (St Michel Auber 93).
Van Vleuten’s struggle
While the break establishes itself at the front, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) sustains mechanical issues that force her to change her bike on three occasions, after she already did so in the neutral zone at the beginning of the stage.
First, she takes her teammate Arlenis Sierra’s bike and returns to the bunch at km 69. But SD Worx up the ante and create splits. Sheyla Gutierrez and Aude Biannic try to pace Van Vleuten back, until she takes matters in her own hands towards the cat-1 ascent up Ballon d’Alsace (km84.6). She bridges the gap on the first slopes… and stops two more times on the ascent to change bike.
A tight battle with the break
Demi Vollering (SD Worx), 2nd in the overall standings (+3’14’’), attacks three times on the ascent and also maintains pressure on the way down, but Van Vleuten reacts every time. Mavi Garcia is the first rider at the summit with a gap of 1’10’’ to the GC group.
On the valley towards the final ascent of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, La Super Planche des Belles Filles (7km, 8.7%), Trek-Segafredo and Canyon//Sram Racing work together to move closer to the attackers.
Van Vleuten asserts her authority
Pauliena Rooijakkers attacks at the bottom of the ascent, Mavi Garcia follows her move. But the GC contenders only trail by 20’’.
Van Vleuten attacks 6km away from the summit. She catches and drops the last attackers with 5.5km to go. Again, Vollering is the strongest rider in pursuit. But she can’t match Van Vleuten’s pace, as the Dutch climber flies to her second stage victory and the overall win in the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
Best of Team Radio of the stage