Tour de France Femmes Stage 4 Preview: Gravel Day!

After a wonderful day yesterday, there are more mountains in the Tour de France Femmes for Ashleigh Moolman Pasio to play on today.

By Molly Hurford |

Stage 4 – Troyes to Bar Sur Aube – 126.8km – Wednesday, July 27

The second hilly stage in the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is similar to Stage 3’s profile, but adds plenty of challenge by way of gravelly unpaved road sections; technical, narrow laneways; and some sharp, steep climbs in the back half of the race. While it doesn’t quite count as a mountainous stage, it’s certainly one that favours riders comfortable with climbing and descending, as well as riders who have some gravel and cyclocross skills.

tour de france femmes stage 4The course runs from Troyes to Bar Sur Aube and contains five climbs as well as one intermediate sprint, so it’s a good day for the climber’s jersey to go up for grabs. Expect small groups to form as the day wears on, and hopefully a lead group that sticks together for another finish line sprint like we’ve seen in the last three stages.

Riders to Watch

Now that the climbing stages have begun in the TDF Femmes, we’re seeing some of strong climbers who are GC contenders start sneaking up in the rankings. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ) will be riding high from her victory over GC leader Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), and certainly will be hoping to improve on her 10th place in the GC. Meanwhile, Trek Segafredo’s Elisa Longo-Borghini, Ashley Moolman-Pasio and Demi Vollering of SD Worx and Movistar’s Annemiek van Vleuten are all slowly climbing up in the rankings and will certainly be contenders as the climbing becomes tougher.

But we would also love to see some cyclocrossers on the front as the gravel sections start tomorrow. Current World Champion Vos will certainly be strong in the technical sections in this stage—and will be determined to protect her yellow jersey as we hit the midway point in the Tour—but there are other cyclocross stars in the mix, including former World Champion Sanne Cant, Sabrina Stultiens, and Christine Majerus. Then, there are teams like EF Education-TIBCO-SVB and Canyon/SRAM who’ve spent some time racing gravel in the last two years and will likely be quite comfortable when the roads get technical.

When to Watch

Catch it all on Supersport or GCN, from 14h30.

If you’re concerned about missing some pedalling time while you spectate the race, you can always hop on Zwift and ride sections of Zwift Island created to mimic parts of each stage—and join other Tour de France Femmes-obsessed fans while you ride!


Ashleigh Moolman Pasio had an amazing ride on Stage 3, animating the action on the climbs and even dropping yellow-jersey Vos at one point. She finished 3rd on the stage, and lies 5th overall. Frances Janse van Rensburg, unfortunately, finished outside the time limit with teammate Noémie Abgrall.



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