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Disappointment in Paris - Vos, Kopecky, Balsamo miss out on yellow at Tour de France Femmes

PARIS FRANCE JULY 24 LR Stage winner Lorena Wiebes of Netherlands and Team DSM Women and Marianne Vos of Netherlands and Jumbo Visma Women Team react after the 1st Tour de France Femmes 2022 Stage 1 a 817km stage from Paris Tour Eiffel to Paris Champslyses TDFF UCIWWT on July 24 2022 in Paris France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Stage 1 runner-up Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) congratulates winner Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Only one sprinter could win the opening stage and claim the first leader's jersey at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and it was Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM). 

Although gracious in defeat, the disappointment was undeniable as favourites Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) and World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) lost the opening opportunity on the Champs-Éysées on Sunday.

"I can't blame myself. Lorena deserved to win today. We all know she's hard to beat, so getting that close makes me feel good," Vos said at the finish line.

"In the last two rounds they kept me up front so I didn't get into trouble. We did everything we could to win, but unfortunately it wasn't to be."

Vos was the first to launch her sprint on the Champs-Éysées from 300 metres out but Wiebes reacted quickly and then out-kicked her compatriot to win by nearly a bike length.

Vos said despite her loss, she enjoyed the opening 82km circuit race that ignited the rebirth of the highly-anticipated women's Tour de France.

"It was a great day. You are focused on the game, but at the same time it is also a lot of fun," Vos said.

Kopecky said that while the opener was an important target due to its double prize of winning both stage and yellow jersey, she was satisfied in her performance.

"I'm satisfied with this third place. This sprint gives me confidence for the coming days. It was a nervous day. The many people along the course made it fun. Getting points for the green jersey was the plan. I am happy that this worked out well," said Kopecky, who picked up points toward the green jersey classification in the intermediate sprints.

Wiebes is currently also leading the green jersey competition with 70 points while Kopecky is in second place with 60 points and Vos in third with 55 points.

After a remarkable spring campaign that led into the Giro Donne, where Balsamo secured two victories and a pair of third placings, she was perhaps the most disappointed with her performance.

The World Champion said she was boxed in during the sprint across the wide roads of the Champs-Éysées and didn't have the legs to make up the difference. She is looking forward to another opportunity on stage 2 from Meaux to Provins on Monday.

"I'm a little bit disappointed but this is only the first stage, so we have another week to try our best. We tried to make a good lead-out but we lost a little bit and in the end I was completely closed-out, too far behind, and my legs weren't so good. We will try again tomorrow," Balsamo said.

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