The route for the Tour de France Femmes was announced on Thursday in a press event in Paris, with the eight-stage race presented by Tour de France organisers ASO. The men's Tour de France was announced at the same presentation.
The Tour de France Femmes takes in 1,029 kilometres and includes back-to-back mountain stages, two stages for the puncheurs, a stage packed with gravel sectors, and four flat stages that could either end in bunch sprints or breakaway wins.
The route presentation at the Palais des Congrès was attended by a 3,000-strong crowd, including women's WorldTour teams and riders. The first-time event will start in Paris on July 24, 2022, and conclude on July 31 with a mountain stage atop La Planche des Belles Filles.
The route was presented by Marion Rousse, who was recently appointed as the director of Tour de France Femmes, and ASO's Christian Prudhomme. Zwift has come on board as title sponsors of the race.
The previous incarnation of the women's Tour de France ended in 1989, and while ASO has gone on to organise women's one-day races like La Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course, and the inaugural Paris-Roubaix (in 2021), the women's peloton had not been included as part of the official Tour de France for the past 30 years.
"The challenge hasn't been to create a race but to create a race that lasts, one that will be sustainable and with us in 100 years," said Prudhomme.
"Women's cycling has evolved year after year, and it's an honour to be part of it," said Rousse.
"For the first edition, we had to visit symbolic locations," she added.
They will start in the City of Light. From the foot of the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées, now part of the Tour’s mythology. They will climb the Ballon d’Alsace, which in 1905 became the first recognised pass to feature in the ‘grande randonnée’ so cherished by Tour founder Henri Desgrange and at the top of which stands a memorial recalling the exploit of its first conqueror, René Pottier. They will reach the finale of eight days of confrontation at the highest point of La Planche des Belles Filles, where the conquest of the yellow jersey has conferred upon the Vosges massif cycling’s highest distinction."
The race begins with an 82km stage around Paris, starting at the Eiffel Tower and finishing on the iconic Champs Elysées with a stage that is highly likely to end in a sprint before the first yellow jersey of the race is crowned.
Stage 2 heads from Meaux to Provins with a 135km race that could see the overall lead change after a false-flat climb to the finish.
The following stage sees the race venture into more climber-friendly terrain with five categorized ascents coming before the final uphill finish at Epernay. The riders will tackle the finish line climb twice during the 133km stage, with the 12 per cent pitches of the Côte de Mutigny sandwiched between the Epernay finish.
Stage 4 is likely to be decisive in the race for the yellow jersey with six climbs and four sections of unpaved roads in the last 60km as the peloton venture from Troyes to Bar-sur-Aube over a 126km stage.
Stage 5 from Bar-le-Duc to Saint-die-des-Vosges is the longest stage of the race with 175km of undulating roads, and three climbs before a likely reduced bunch sprint.
Stage 6 (128km) from Saint-die-des-Vosges to Rosheim should be finely balanced between the sprinters and a breakaway, with a flat finish coming after four categorized climbs. The final ascent of the Côte de Boersch, with pitches of over six per cent, could provide the perfect launchpad for a flurry of attacks.
The final two days will decide the race with back-to-back mountain finishes. The first of the two stages will see the peloton tackle three major ascents, including the Grand Ballon - 13.5km at 6.7 per cent - before a downhill run to the line in Le Markstein. The stage also includes the ascents of the Petit Ballon (9,3 km, 8,1 per cent) and Col du Platzerwasel (7,1 km, 8,3 per cent) and will be one of the toughest stages of the entire race.
The final stage, however, is the queen stage, and sees the riders head out from Lure and head towards La Super Planche des Belles Filles. The 123km stage takes in two major climbs before reaching the key finale and the iconic ascent to the finish.
The 7km climb to Super Planche des Belles Filles has pitches over 20 per cent, finishing on the gravel section beyond the standard summit, which first featured in the men's Tour in 2019.
It will decide the final outcome of the race and the first winner of the Tour de France Femmes.
"From the foundation of the past and present of the Tour de France, the riders at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, will write their own history, adding the tomorrow in the form of the white roads, the stony sectors on the Champagne hillsides which the men’s peloton will perhaps tackle one day," added. Rousse.
"This new race will thrive on its own and will maintain the intense focus that the Tour always receives through the course of another week of intense battle. Designed to hold a permanent place on the racing calendar, to produce and perpetuate exploits and deep emotions of its own, this new summer event will receive undivided attention as well as support from the Tour’s major and historic partners."
"The champions will also feel the same way, knowing that this race will become the highlight of their season. And for one hundred seasons to come. And even more if they wish. Above and beyond these wishes for every success, there lies a well-considered desire that owes nothing to the times, an intention to open up a new era in universality. An era that will extend and enrich the legend... of the Tours!"
Tour de France Femmes 2022 stages
Stage 1: Tour Eiffel - Champs Elysees 82km
Stage 2: Meaux - Provins 135km
Stage 3: Reims - Epernay 133km
Stage 4: Troyes - Bar-sur-Aube 126km
Stage 5: Bar-le-Duc - Saint-die-des-Vosges 175km
Stage 6: Saint-die-des-Vosges - Rosheim 128km
Stage 7: Selestat - Le Markstein 127km
Stage 8: Lure - La Super Planche des Belles Filles 123km
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Tour de France Femmes 2022 route video
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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