La Route de France, UCI 2.1, kicks off the stage racing for the professional women’s peloton in August. The nine-day race begins on August 7, and because that is the same day as the women’s road race at the Olympic Games, the field will miss some of the top climbers in the world including defending champion from Italy Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5).
In fact, all of the past four champions were instead participating in Rio de Janeiro including Linda Villumsen (New Zealand), Evelyn Stevens (USA) and Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands). But the peloton did include a strong field with top teams with Wiggle High5’s La Course by Le Tour de France winner Chloe Hosking, Orica-AIS with Tayler Wiles, Ale Cipollini with former world champion Marta Bastianelli, Bepink’s Amber Neben, Liv-Plantur’s Floortje Mackaij and Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank’s Lauren Stephens.
New this year are nine days of racing. The race kicks off with a 3.2km prologue in Saint Quentin to set the stage and the overall classification for the nine-day race. The peloton take on a second time trial during stage 4 from Buxy to Chalon Sur Saone, and the remaining seven stages were challenging road races.
Last year, there were only six stages. Amy Pieters won the prologue and took the first leader’s jersey and held that lead though two sprint stages until Longo Borghini won stage 3 at moved into the leader’s jersey. The Italian also won stage 5 and held her lead through the final sprint stage 6 won by teammate Giorgia Bronzini.