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Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift stage 6 Live - Last chance for attacks before GC mountain showdown


Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 6 of the 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

As we kick-off our live coverage of stage 6, the riders are signing on in the centre of  Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. 

It's warm and dry again in eastern France.

Lorena Wiebes of Team DSM took a spectacular second win at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges on Thursday, beating Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) into second place and yellow jersey Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) into third.

Click below to read our full stage report.

Lorena Wiebes strikes a second time and wins stage 5 of Tour de France Femmes

Team DSMs Dutch rider Lorena Wiebes C celebrates as she cycles to the finish line to win the 5th stage of the new edition of the Womens Tour de France cycling race 1756 km between BarleDuc and SaintDiedesVosges eastern France on July 28 2022 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD AFP via Getty Images)

We are less than half an hour from the neutral start of stage 6 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

With some hills on the profile but a flat finish on tap in Rosheim, stage 6 is a tricky one to predict. Things could come down a sprint, but the opportunists may like their chances on this terrain.

Neutral rollout has begun!

Riders have left the neutral zone. The race is on.

It's a fine summer day in and around Saint-Dié, where the current temperature is a little over 24°C.

With stage 6, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift continues to roll through the Grand Est of France, this time moving from the Vosges department in the historical region of Lorraine eastward into the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace. The finish is less than 30km from the Rhine and the border with Germany.

Saturday and Sunday will both feature enough hard climbs to bring the GC riders to the fore. With that in mind, today's stage could be the last good opportunity for quite a few stage hunters in the peloton. Expect a fierce fight to get up the road.

As the race reaches the fourth-category Col d'Urbeis, riders are trying their luck off the front.

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102km remaining

An aggressive Maaike Boogaard (UAE Team ADQ) nabs two QOM points at the top of the climb, with current mountains leader Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg) taking one.

After a mechanical, Elisa Longo Borghini (currently fourth overall) finds herself in a group chasing the pack. Her Trek-Segafredo teammate Audrey Cordon-Ragot is with her.

Longo Borghini has made her way back to the peloton.

The pace has been high for a while now. As of yet, no attacks have stuck for long.

Cofidis rider Martina Alzini has pulled out of the race.

A group has formed off the front with a small gap and some notable names in the mix. French national champ Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who helped Elisa Longo Borghini get back to the pack, is up there. So are Christine Majerus, Joss Lowden, and Tiffany Cromwell.

77km remaining

The peloton seems to be content with the composition of this move. The breakaway riders are now about a minute up the road.

There are 14 riders off the front. They are: Sandra Alonso (Ceratizit-WNT), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo), Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM), Tamara Dronova (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad), Sheyla Gutiérrez (Movistar), Katrin Hammes (EF Education-Tibco-SVB), Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma), Franziska Koch (Team DSM), Marie Le Net (FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope), Joscelin Lowden (Uno-X), Christine Majerus (SD Worx), Ruby Roseman-Gannon (BikeExchange-Jayco), Laura Smulders (Liv Racing Xstra), and Jesse Vandenbulcke (Le Col-Wahoo).

The race is approaching a pair of categorized climbs. First up is the fourth-category Côte de Klingenthal. Then it's on to the third-category Côte de Grendelbruch.

Lowden leads the way through the QOM. The pack is a little over a minute and a half behind the main breakaway group, with Marta Bastianelli a little ways ahead of the peloton but about to be swept back up.

68km remaining

Bastianelli is back in the pack, which is 1:40 behind the break.

Valcar Travel & Service is pushing the pace in the pack, with DSM just behind. Lorena Wiebes in the green jersey (she is second in that classification to Marianne Vos) is near the front, and Vos in yellow is not far back.

The next climb on the docket, the Côte de Grendelbruch, is 1.2km in length but steep at an average gradient of 8%.

Lowden jumps near the top of the ascent and is the first rider through the third-category QOM.

Lowden has moved up to a tie for second in the QOM classification, though Gerritse will hold onto the jersey assuming she finishes the stage.

60km remaining

The break has about two minutes with 60 kilometers left until the finish in Rosheim.

As EF Education-Tibco-SVB's director has just pointed out over radio on the Tour de France Femmes broadcast, there are "some turns on the descent" here.

50.5km remaining

The peloton has closed this gap somewhat. The breakaway now has an advantage of 1:14. 

UAE Team ADQ has been putting in the work over the past several kilometers.

The breakaway riders are approaching the intermediate sprint.

Dranova picks up 25 points at the intermediate sprint.

Neither Vos nor Wiebes go for the few remaining sprint points on offer at the intermediate, leaving the top of the points standings unchanged for now.

40km remaining

It looks like there is about an hour of racing left in the sixth stage of the Tour de France Femmes.

UAE Team ADQ has continued to push a high tempo, with Slovenian road champ Eugenia Bujak putting in a big turn on the front, but the gap has held steady at around 1:20.

Saying that, of course, seems to have hastened the closing of the gap, which has just come down under one minute.

Cordon-Ragot puts in a big dig off the front of the break that lines things out. She is brought back, but Koch is dropped.

29km remaining

Lowden hits the front of the break to push the pace.

The gap is down to 40 seconds now.

ROSHEIM FRANCE JULY 29 LR Sandra Alonso Dominguez of Spain and Ceratizit Wnt Pro Cycling Team Ruby RosemanGannon of Australia and Team Bikeexchange Jayco and Tamara Dronova of Russia and Team Roland Cogeas EdelweissIsraelPremier Tech compete in the breakaway passing through Heiligenstein Village during the 1st Tour de France Femmes 2022 Stage 6 a 1286km stage from SaintDidesVosges to Rosheim TDFF UCIWWT on July 29 2022 in Rosheim France Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images

The breakaway on stage 6 of the Tour de France Femmes. (Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Hammes leads Cordon-Ragot and Le Net over the bonus line.

25.5km remaining

A big surge by Grace Brown has put a sizable collection of riders into the rearview mirror. Vos and Wiebes are still among the two dozen or so in the pack.

Lorena Wiebes is down in a crash. Others are involved as well.

Lotte Kopecky and Alena Amialiusik also hit the deck in that crash.

Wiebes, with scrapes on her right side, has remounted and is chasing, but she is about 1:20 behind the pack.

After a handful of riders have lost touch with the break, there are 10 left in the lead.

Riders have passed through the finish line in Rosheim and are now headed towards the final categorized climb of the day.

DSM, despite the crash of Wiebes, is driving the pace at the front of the peloton, with the gap now down under 50 seconds.

DSM's GC leader, Juliette Labous, is still there. She started the day in seventh overall.

Anna Henderson has put in a big attack out front. Le Net has joined her. Lowden is trying to bridge.

With 15km to go, Henderson, Lowden, and Le Net have a gap to the rest of the breakaway riders.

13km remaining

Henderson, Lowden, and Le Net are together out front with a 26-second advantage to a chasing group of breakaway riders. The pack is another 22 seconds behind that.

Cordon-Ragot and several others who had been in the breakaway are now back with the pack.

Having passed through the town of Boersch, riders are approaching the fourth-category Côte de Boersch. It's not particularly steep, but at this point in the race, it could inspire some attacks.

10.5km remaining

Movistar has taken control of the pack. The lead trio has a 20-second gap to the peloton.

Marie Le Net attacks her two companions off the front. She has a gap, with Henderson a few seconds back and Lowden further behind.

Le Net and then Henderson go over the top of the climb. Liane Lippert attacks in the pack but is unable to open up much of a gap. Lowden is caught.

Le Net is alone out front with 12 seconds over the pack as Henderson is caught.

7.5km remaining

Ellen van Dijk is pushing the pace on the false flat that follows the final categorized climb.

ROSHEIM, FRANCE - JULY 29: (L-R) Marie Le Net of France and Team Fdj Nouvelle - Aquitaine Futuroscope, Anna Henderson of United Kingdom and Jumbo Visma Women Team and Joscelin Lowden of United Kingdom and UNO-X Women Cycling Team compete in the breakaway during the 1st Tour de France Femmes 2022, Stage 6 a 128,6km stage from Saint-Dié-des-Vosges to Rosheim / #TDFF / #UCIWWT / on July 29, 2022 in Rosheim, France. (Photo by Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Henderson, Lowden, and Le Net tried their luck off the front as the break approached the final climb. (Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

It looks like Le Net is about to be caught.

Le Net is caught and so that's it for the early breakaway with 4.3km to go on stage 6 of the Tour de France Femmes. Le Net does remain at the front of the pack.

And now SD Worx has amassed near the front. Vos is just behind.

2.1km remaining

Jumbo-Visma takes the lead in the peloton, which is flying towards the finish.

Even after crashing not all that long ago, Kopecky is right near the front here.

Ellen van Dijk leads the pack under the flamme rouge with Vos just behind.

The riders will be sprinting for this stage win in just a few moments.

Vos hits the front with 150 meters to go!

Marta Bastianelli tries to come even but fades.

Vos holds on to take her second stage win of this race!

Bastianelli takes second with Kopecky in third.

That was a very busy final 300 meters. Elisa Longo Borghini, leading her teammate Elisa Balsamo, navigated some late corners to pull to the head of the pack. Longo Borghini led into the final 200 meters with Balsamo and Vos on even terms just behind, and then Balsamo passed Longo Borghini on the left with Vos on the right. Moments later, Vos had taken the lead. Bastianelli tried to match her speed but had to settle for second, with Kopecky delivering an impressive third-place finish after her crash. Balsamo was fourth. Silvia Persico finished fifth on the day after a pretty aggressive swing across the road in the closing meters.

Team Jumbo Vismas Dutch rider Marianne Vos C celebrates as she cycles to the finish line to win the 6th stage of the new edition of the Womens Tour de France cycling race ahead of UAE Team ADQs Italian rider Marta Bastianelli placing second R and Team SD Worxs Belgian rider Lotte Kopecky placing third L 1292 km between SaintDielesVosges and Rosheim on July 29 2022 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

Marianne Vos doubles her stage win tally at the Tour de France Femmes. (Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD AFP via Getty Images)

Vos now leads the general classification by 30 seconds.

Wiebes arrives over seven and a half minutes down.

That must have been a tough final hour for Wiebes, who seemed like a decent pick to win the stage before her crash.

Wiebes may still be wearing green tomorrow with Vos in yellow, but Vos has taken a commanding lead in the green jersey standings after her victory today.

Jumbo-Visma played this one quite well. Anna Henderson spent the day off the front and even led the move that established a lead trio in the last 15km. Despite having Vos in yellow, the team did not spend all that much energy setting high tempos in the pack the way that a few other squads did. Once the break was caught, Riejanne Markus and Karlijn Swinkels helped Vos get into position, and she delivered.

Vos praised the work of her teammates on the day.

“In the final they did a perfect job to keep me front and the speed high until the last corners then I was in a good position, but i felt I was [being attacked] from the back so I hoped I could keep it until the line," she said.

“I was in the wheel of Ellen van Dijk and when [Elisa] Balsamo came on the left with Elisa Longo Borghini, the other Elisa, went on the left and me on the right and we had the same speed, I couldn’t excel more but I hoped it was enough.”

Obviously, it did turn out to be enough for Vos.

Here are the results of stage 6:

You can get the full report on today's action via the link below:

Vos takes sprint victory in Rosheim on stage 6 of Tour de France Femmes.

As the Tour de France Femmes heads into the weekend, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) sits atop the general classification with a 30-second gap to Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service) – but the looming mountains should shake up the yellow jersey standings. Stages 7 and 8 both feature some challenging climbs.

That's all for today's live coverage of stage 6 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Thanks for following the action with us! Tune in again on Saturday for stage 7, which runs 127.1km from Sélestat to Le Markstein. Riders will roll out for the neutral start at 1:30 p.m. local time in France.

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