History has been written on the Champs-Élysées as the superfast Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) and the peloton of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift covered the first stage of the race this Sunday, in Paris.
After 81.6km of fast racing, the Dutch sprinter took her 16th victory of the year… the most historic, claiming the Maillot Jaune of leader of the Tour ahead of her compatriot Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma).
Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) rounded out the podium of the day. The race will now set off towards the East, heading to the finish atop La Super Planche des Belles Filles next Sunday.
The peloton started from the Eiffel Tower in the early afternoon with 144 trailblazers to pave the way for the first Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Attackers immediately set off, with riders from EF-Education-Tibco-SVB and Human Powered Health showing their intent to make the break. But the succession of attacks and counter-attacks make it hard to open a gap.
First break and first sprint
After 18 km of racing around the Champs-Élysées, Mischa Bredewold (Parkhotel Valkenburg) attacks. She is quickly joined by Emily Newsom (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) and they open the first significant gaps.
With 8 laps (54.4km) to go, the leading duo are 25’’ ahead of Morgane Coston (Arkea), trying to chase them down, and 40’’ ahead of the bunch. But the peloton accelerate towards the first intermediate sprint (km 34.8). The attackers are reeled in and Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) takes the first points of the day against Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM).
Pauline Allin (Arkea) launches a new move inside the last 45km. With many counter-attackers trying to join her, the gap is minimal. Henrietta Christie (Human Powered Health) eventually makes it a 2-woman breakaway, 15’’ ahead of the bunch. But the peloton accelerate again towards the second intermediate sprint, dominated by Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx).
Into the last 25km, Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Anne Dorthe Ysland (Uno-X) attack and Marta Lach (Ceratizit-WNT) joins them at the front of the race. They battle it out on the only categorised ascent of the day with the peloton chasing hard behind them. Markus takes the 2 KOM points at the summit and the first polka-dot jersey is hers.
First abandon and first Maillot Jaune
The peloton immediately get back to the attackers… And Gladys Verhulst (Le Col-Wahoo) goes on the move, alone. She opens a gap of 50’’ ahead of the final 10km while Alana Castrique (Cofidis) suffers a crash and abandons the race.
Verhulst is stil 30’’ ahead of her rivals when she enters the final lap. She is eventually caught 2.3km away from the line. Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) powers to the front but Team DSM and Jumbo-Visma move past her to set a magnificent sprint between the icon Vos and the rising star Wiebes, who narrowly takes the first Maillot Jaune.