TdF Femmes 2023: This One’s For You, Ash!
The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift returns for 2023 with eight stage including a time trial as the finale to the race as well as a monster stage that includes the brutal Col du Tourmalet – perfect for Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s climbing excellence.
Over eight days from Sunday, July 23 to Sunday, July 30, 2023, riders will tackle 956 kilometres including a mountain stage, four flat stages, two hilly stages, and the time trial. The longest stage covers more than a century at 177km, while the shortest—the time trial—runs 22km in the city of Pau. Notably missing from the route, though, is any time in Paris.
The 2023 edition will feature the same number of stages as the inaugural 2022 race. In total, 2023 will be 77km shorter than last year, but next year’s longest stage at 177km is a bit longer than the longest stage in 2022 (175.6km).
“I’m very stoked that Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift received such great support and attention in 2022 when it all started,” says Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM) who finished fourth in the 2022 edition. “It’s very promising for the future and for the next generations of young riders pursuing their dreams. As everyone knows, there is something special about the race that nobody can explain. It’s the atmosphere, the course, the organisation, the fans, and above all excitement that we share amongst each other.”
The stages include:
- July 23 – Flat – Clermont-Ferrand to Clermont-Ferrand – 124km
- July 24 – Hilly – Clermont-Ferrand to Mauriac – 148km
- July 25 – Flat – Collonges la Rouge to Montignac Lascaux – 147km
- July 26 – Hilly – Cahors to Rodez – 177km
- July 27 – Flat – Onet le Chateau to Albi – 126km
- July 28 – Flat – Albi to Blagnac – 122km
- July 29 – Mountain – Lannemezan to Tourmalet Bagneres de Bigorre – 90km
- July 30 – Time Trial – Pau to Pau – 22km
The race covers three regions in Southern France: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie, crossing two mountain ranges in the process. The highest point—the Tourmalet pass—will be the end of the mountain stage. If the race plays out similar to last year, with a sprinter and tactical rider like Marianne Vos dominating the flat and hilly stages, the final mountain and time trial stages could be big shakeups for the overall standings.
“It’s thrilling that the 2023 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift route announcement is so hotly anticipated,” says Kate Venonneau, Zwift Director of Women’s Strategy. “It speaks to the success of the inaugural event and makes us so optimistic about the future. With next year’s edition, our goal, in partnership with ASO, is to get even more people to ‘Watch the Femmes’ by giving the race more broadcast time around the world. That visibility is the real game-changer; it’s the key to attracting new fans and sponsors, and elevating women’s cycling.”
As with last year’s race, there will be a daily two and a half hour live broadcast of the race available internationally, though precise rights for US coverage have not been released yet.
In terms of prize money, we’re still ‘not quite’ at equal payouts. For the women, a total of €250 000 (R4.5-million) will be awarded across the different stage, jersey and team competitions, including €50 000 (a shade over R900k) to the winner of the final general classification according to ASO. (By comparison, ASO’s Tour de France men’s race boasts “a total of around 2.3 million euros will be awarded to the teams and riders, including 500 000 euros to the winner of the final individual general classification.”)
However, it’s important to remember that while it feels slow, progress truly is being made—and racers are excited. “The first edition of TdFFaZ was everything I expected it to be and so much more,” says Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD-Worx). “I’ve been watching the TdF from the sofa for many years and dreaming of racing it, but I didn’t quite comprehend how big it really was, until I experienced it first hand for myself. It was mind blowing being part of the inaugural event and seeing the attention it attracted from far and wide, and in real life with all the people out supporting on the roads … I have never experience anything like it in women’s cycling and I’m super excited for next years edition. For me, it was a massive disappointment not to have finished due to illness, so I feel like I have unfinished business and I’m more motivated that ever to win that iconic yellow jersey.”
“The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift in 2022 was bigger than I expected. The attention, the media coverage, the fans along the side of roads. And the racing was fantastic,” says Elise Chabbey of Canyon//SRAM. “That makes me believe that 2023 will be even bigger. Our team had great success at last year’s tour and it’s one of our big focuses again next year. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to race it again.”