From Torquay to the Tourmalet, the world’s most elite cyclists who began their season at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race are preparing for the biggest cycling stage race of all – Tour de France Femmes.

The 2023 Tour de France Femmes will see no less than 20 cyclists who took part in the Victorian one-day classic earlier this January. In fact, four of the first five across the line at the 2023 Cadel Road Race are riding the 8-stage race that begins July 23.

2023 Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race winner Loes Adegeest will ride alongside Australian teammate Grace Brown for FDJ – SUEZ.

Adegeest celebrated in Geelong earlier this year, edging out Australian star Amanda Spratt in a two-woman sprint to claim a breakthrough WorldTour victory on the roads.

The 26-year-old from The Netherlands successfully defended her ‘virtual rainbow jersey’ on Zwift in February as a back-to-back victor of the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.


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2023 Mapei Sprint Classification champion Georgie Howe (Team Jayco – AlUla) and Gerry Ryan Best Young Rider winner Josie Nelson (Team Coop – Hitec Products) will both be riding their debut Tour de France Femmes.

Although various professional women’s cycle stage races across France have historically been held as an equivalent to the men’s Tour de France, 2023 marks the second official season of the Tour de France Femmes.

The 2023 edition will see the women contest eight stages across 956km in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Occitania and Nouvelle-Aqitaine regions of France.


The Australians

Commonwealth Games champion and UCI World Championship Time Trial silver medallist Grace Brown enters the Tour de France Femmes in support of her French team and will be keeping a close eye on stage wins, particularly the final stage ITT in Pau.

“It’s hard, the Tour de France is just really big, and I think I’m more nervous than I was last year because I know a bit more what to expect, I know how crazy it’s going to be,” Brown told Cyclingnews.

“I feel physically good, but I guess a little bit apprehensive about what I can expect from myself because we know that everyone’s in super form.”

2016 Cadel Road Race champion Spratt will be taking to the French roads for Lidl – Trek, after a strong return to form following a period of surgery, rest and recovery in 2022.

Expect to see Spratt taking on the mountains with gusto in support of Italian leader Elisa Longo Borghini. Victorian Lauretta Hanson will also be riding in support.

Accomplished track cyclist Alex Manly is one of four Australians named in Team Jayco-AlUla’s squad, riding alongside Georgie Howe, Amber Pate and Jess Allen.

Manly finished 17th at the 2023 Cadel Road Race while Pate and Howe finished 18th and 20th respectively.

Riding for Canyon//SRAM Racing, Sarah Roy heads to France after taking confidence from a successful Giro Donne. Her tenth year in the pro peloton, and second with the German-registered CSR team, Roy will be riding to support 2022 podium finisher, Kasia Niewiadoma of Poland.

Former elite triathlete Danielle De Francesco (fifth at Cadel’s in 2023) will ride for Arkéa Pro Cycling Team, while Elizabeth Stannard rides for new team Israel-Premier Tech Roland.

Cofidis Women’s Team will see two Australians in Josie Talbot and Rachel Neylan ride in 2023. Much admired Neylan, the winner of the Cadel Road Race in 2016 has announced her retirement at season’s end after a glittering 15 years in the pro peloton.


The Contenders

The 2022 General Classification champion, Annemiek van Vleuten returns for Movistar Team as the pundit’s favourite to claim back-to-back maillot jaunes.

Van Vleuten, the sport’s most dominant overall athlete of the past decade, has made the decision to retire at season’s end, however, the 40-year-old leader refuses to fade away quietly. She led the 2023 Giro Donne from start to finish in June, claiming her fourth career General Classification there. Van Vleuten also won both the climber’s and sprinter’s jerseys in Italy this year.

Van Vleuten also took line honours at the 2017 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, riding for Orica-Scott.

No doubt the extraordinary Dutchwoman will look to further cement her name as the greatest ever, should she ultimately triumph after the final ITT stage in Pau.

Contenders looking to upset van Vleuten’s fairytale include compatriot Demi Vollering (SD Worx), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl – Trek) and Juliette Labous (Team DSM–Firmenich).

Olympic champion and ten-time UCI Road World Championships medallist Marianne Vos of Team Jumbo–Visma will be vying for the sprinters classification against the likes of Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx) and Charlotte Kool (Team DSM).

The Tour de France Femmes route will see four flat stages, two hilly stages, one mountain-top finish at the Col du Tourmalet and an Individual Time Trial in Pau.

Van Vleuten described the 2023 course as an “upgrade” on 2022, as the women’s tour looks to further emulate the prestige of men’s race.

“It’s important to have a famous, hard long climb because the Tour de France for men also has a hard climb and it’s nice to see they added this one. It’s high altitude and it also suits me quite well.”


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Stay tuned to @CadelRoadRace for rolling coverage and best moments of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes.