Tour de France Femmes Stage 2: A Day For Ashleigh?

The TdF ain't over: Can Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio improve on her superb 5th-place Stage-1 finish in today's lumpy Stage 2?

By Micah Ling |

Stage Two — Clermont-Ferrand to Mauriac (152 km.) Monday, July 24

With the race really underway, and legs warmed up, stage two brings the hills. Beginning once again in Clermont-Ferrand, riders head south 152 km. to Mauriac in south-central France, where they will do a circuit around the small town on the slope of a volcanic hill.

Mauriac is considered the oldest settlement in the Cantal, with its Gallo-Roman remains dating back to the 1st century. Today it’s a picturesque rural town with beautiful old buildings and shops.

Tour de France Femmes stage 2 profile 2023This will be a nonstop rolling hills day, including six categorised climbs. This stage is also on the longer side, which means lots of room for exciting action. The climbs start right away with 32 km. of incline (uncategorised) before they hit the first actual climb—Côte du Mont-Dore, 1.3 km. averaging 6.6 percent.

Then Côte de la Stèle quickly after — a 1.8 km. climb with an average 5.1 percent grade. This is followed by a steep and technical downhill before Côte des Plaines, a 4.5 km. 5.5 percent climb beginning at 105 km. into the race. Next up is Côte de Boissières, only 1.2 km. but an average grade of 7.2 percent.

The rest of the route rolls with very few flat stretches. The riders will take on Côte de Merlhac, 1.9 km. at 5.5 percent before reaching their final categorised climb, Côte de Trébiac, 3.4 km. at 5.8 percent. It’s not quite a hilltop finish, but it might as well be — it would take some kind of miracle to be able to get a sprint in after such a round of climbs.

Riders to Watch

This kind of hectic day will play well for a number of riders. Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ) will excel on the hills. Demi Vollering (SD Worx) will also eat this course up. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step) is almost definitely looking to step up with this one. We’d love to see Juliette Labous (DSM–Firmenich) who took second at Giro Donne earlier this month.

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