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Riders hope for better schedule for Giro Donne and Tour de France Femmes

Demi Vollering (SD Worx)
Demi Vollering (SD Worx) (Image credit: SD Worx/Getty Images)

Lotte Kopecky and Demi Vollering (SD Worx) are among the riders open to a change in schedule as the peloton prepares to take on the first Giro Donne and Tour de France Femmes double this July.

This year there will be just thirteen days between the end of the Giro Donne and the start of the Tour de France Femmes.

"I would like to have maybe the Giro a bit earlier," said Vollering, who is skipping the Italian race this year. "For example, if it was now already, then you would have a little bit more time in between. Maybe because I'm a bit older now, I also can handle both races, but I don't know, I need to see how that goes."

Kopecky, who is set to race both the Giro and the Tour this year, described the double as "doable" with "just enough time to recover" between the races but suggested there may be a "better solution", particularly for riders who will target both.

Despite Vollering's suggestion that the Giro be moved earlier, it may well be the Tour that is forced to move first, owing to scheduling conflicts with other events.

"If you look at the next two years, next year we have the Worlds in August, and then the year after the Olympics," Kopecky pointed out. "So I think that's already two years when the dates will need to change. Then we can see what they will do about it, and maybe it is better, maybe it is not.

At present, the Tour de France Femmes 2023 is scheduled for the last week of July ahead of the World Championships in Glasgow, whilst the Paris Olympics - starting on 26 July 2024 - are expected to necessitate a change in the location and timing of the race.

"I think we have to see in the next years if maybe there is a better solution," Kopecky said. "But for me at this moment, I'm fine with this combination."

However, the already-packed WorldTour stage racing calendar is only getting busier. As well as the existing Women's Tour and Tour of Scandinavia, the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta is set to grow to a seven-day race in May next year, meaning it is even more challenging to have sufficient time between the season's key stage races.

In the first year of the Giro-Tour double, most riders do not yet know how they will react to back-to-back major tours. 

The racing load is not without precedent - in 2014, Evelyn Stevens raced the Giro Donne, finished 15th, then headed straight into the Thüringen Rundfahrt and won the overall at the end of 17 consecutive days of racing.

Vollering plans to learn how her body reacts to a big block of stage racing later this summer.

"I will do the Tour of Scandinavia, so I will see how I am there after the Tour," Vollering said. "Maybe I'll be really good there, and then next year, I can do both the Giro and the Tour. It's still a bit something I need to figure out for myself, how I can handle that.

"I think [it's the same] for most of the riders because we've never had it like this, so I think we need to see how it goes this year."

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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.