The eight-day race will begin at the Eiffel Tower and conclude with what is sure to be an epic summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles. Covering 1,029 kilometres, the course includes 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 multifaceted and challenging course will conclude with consecutive mountain stages in the Vosges—the backdrop against which the overall winner will be crowned.
Needless to say, there is plenty to keep track of as we wait for the flag to fly and the race to begin. In the weeks leading up to the big event, expect team updates, rider insights, and more! Let’s dig into it.
Tour de France Femmes 2022 stage breakdown
The Tour de France Femmes’ eight stages are between 82 km and 175 km. Stage 5, which includes three challenging climbs, is the longest of the eight. At 175 km, it reaches just beyond the 160-km limit set by the UCI for the Women’s WorldTour. If you want to learn more, check out our previous article.
Teams racing at this history event
At the end of March, ASO announced the 24 teams set to participate in the inaugural women’s Tour de France Femmes.
All 14 UCI Women’s WorldTour teams will be represented, with 10 Women’s UCI Continental teams also participating in the event. In addition, three places were given to the top three Continental teams from 2021: Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling, Valcar-Travel and Service and Parkhotel Valkenburg.
The remaining seven spots were awarded based on a wildcard selection. These picks include AG Insurance NXTG Team, Arkéa Pro Cycling Team, Cofidis Women Team, Le Col-Wahoo, Plantur-Pura, St Michel-Auber93 WE, and Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime.
All Tour de France Femmes 2022 teams
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
Human Powered Health Women
Liv Racing Xstra
Movistar Team Women
Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
Team DSM Women
UAE Team ADQ
Uno-X Pro Cycling Women
Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team
Valcar-Travel & Service
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team
Cofidis Women Team
Le Col Wahoo
Stade Rochelais Charente Maritime
St Michel-Auber 93
Who is vying for the maillot jaune?
You better believe that the competition for this history-making title will be among the fiercest we’ve seen in professional cycling—from men or women. So, let’s take a look at a few of the top contenders:
• Despite confirmation of a wrist injury late last month, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) is expected to make a full recovery and remains among the favourites to win the Tour de France Femmes. The three-time World Champion and two-time winner of the Giro Rosa is at her best on hilly terrain and will undoubtedly make some heads fly in the mountains on stages 7 and 8.
• Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) who won La Course in 2021 is another top contender. Although she has a very different riding style than van Vleuten and may not perform as well on the final climbs, her team has options. South African rider Ashleigh Moolman is highly reliable on the hills, as is the team’s young talent Niamh Fisher-Black.
• Another duo of mountain experts are Trek-Segafredo’s Elisa Longo Borghini and Lizzie Deignan. If positioned well and given the leverage needed to engage in tactics, they could prove difficult to beat.
• Naturally, there will also be a fair share of fans putting their money on Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma). She might not have the mountain legs of some of the others but if we know anything about this Dutch rider—it is to expect the unexpected.
• Fierce, versatile, and poised for a big win—Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM) is also one to keep an eye on when it comes to snagging that yellow jersey. She proved what she is capable of when she won The Women’s Tour in 2019 and has been riding strong ever since.
• French team FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope has had no qualms about making their intentions clear for this year’s Tour de France Femmes—they want to win. Danish superstar Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, who finished second in La Course last year, is the clear vessel for this ambition.
A new dawn for women’s cycling
We have dedicated a lot of time and space to discussing the evolution of women’s cycling over the last decade, and that is because its momentum has surged. From better team conditions and minimum salaries to increased live coverage and reporting—the stars have finally aligned for the sport to come into its own.
As we wait in anticipation of this year’s race, it is essential to remember that there is still work to be done. With that in mind, I’d like to end with this quote that I particularly love from there is still work to be done, and I particularly love this quote from pro cyclist, author, filmmaker, activist & motivational speaker Kathryn Bertine.
“A Women’s Tour de France is so much bigger than a bike race,” said Bertine. “It’s a beacon of progress for the society that men and women are valued equally at the top. So yes, I applaud the eight days coming in 2022. I’ll be cheering the loudest! And behind the scenes, I’ll still keep pushing for two more weeks to be added in the coming years.”
And we’ll be right there with her! Stay tuned for more insight into the Tour de France Femmes as the excitement builds over the coming weeks.