Le Tour de France Femmes 2023: exclusive insights from Cédrine Kerbaol, France Time Trial Champion 2023
In this Article
Published on July 20th, 2023
With less than a week before the second ever edition of Le Tour de France Femmes now is a good time catch up on everything there is to know about this monstrous, demanding yet beautiful race. It’s the ultimate challenge for even the world’s best cyclist and down below we will chat to Cédrine Kerbaol, the current French national TT champion on how she has been preparing herself and what to expect. Here is a brief overview of the crucial information.
Here's a brief overview of the essential information:
Date: Sunday July 23, 2023 - Sunday July 30, 2023
Distance: 956 km
Unlike in 2022 the race will not start on the Champs-Elysées, however it will be mostly flat until the last 10 km where the riders will face the short climb Côte de Durtol, averaging 7.2% for 1.7km which could make it a great launch pad for any attacks, It will definitely be an exciting end to the day!
After the first stage the Tour goes south, winding towards the Pyrenees where the 2 last and most decisive stages lie. With a big day in the mountains on stage 7 and a 22km individual time trial on the stage 8 there will be plenty of movement in the general classification with all the pressure resting on the shoulders of defending champion and current road world champion Annemiek van Vleuten.
There will be plenty of new exciting bike tech and equipment used at the Tour this year so be sure to keep an eye out. For a look at some of the best bikes used in last year's edition check out this article.
The winners of the Tour de France Femmes 2022 :
- Yellow jersey - Annemiek van Vleuten
- White jersey - Shirin Van Anrooij
- Green jersey - Marianne Vos
- Polka dot jersey - Demi Vollering
- Team classification - Canyon//SRAM Racing
Women's Tour de France stages :
Stage 1: Clermont-Ferrand > Clermont-Ferrand | 124km | Flat
As mentioned earlier, this stage should be relatively straightforward until the riders reach the final 10km. With a short climb, it could be difficult for the sprinters' teams to organize themselves if someone decides to attack, so there could be many different outcomes.
Stage 2: Clermont-Ferrand > Mauriac | 148 km | hilly
The second longest day of the Tour awaits the riders on stage 2, and it won't be an easy one: 6 classified climbs and 2600m of ascent could make it an important day for the overall classification, especially as the last climb of the day (Côte de Trébiac) peaks just 1.5km before the finish line and averages 5.6% over 3.4km!
Stage 3: Collonges-La-Rouge > Montignac-Lascaux | 147km | Flat
A flatter day will offer some rest after stage 2, with the last of the 5 classified climbs finishing after 92km and a flat course to the finish. It will probably be a day for sprinters, but anything can happen in the biggest cycling race of the season.
Stage 4: Cahors > Rodez | 177km | Hilly
177km of increasingly tough roads await the riders on stage 4. It could be another important day for the overall classification, with 3 of the 5 classified climbs in the last 35km. 2400m of elevation doesn't sound like much, but when it's mainly in the second half of the race, it sure is tough! Finally, with an average gradient of 10.1% for 570m, the Côte Saint-Pierre is very flattering with just 2km to go.
Stage 5: Onet-Le-Château > Albi | 126km | Flat
Only 4 graded climbs for the riders on stage 5 before a flat, fast and furious race to the finish, I think it's another day that the sprinters will be keeping an eye on.
Stage 6: Albi > Blagnac | 122km | Flat
Stage 6 on July 28 is the last chance to rest the legs before the two crucial days ahead. With only 4 small classified climbs, it will be a flat day heading south towards Toulouse, with the high mountains of the Pyrenees in the background.
Stage 7: Lannemezan > Tourmalet Bagnéres-De-Bigorre | 90km | Mountain
Potentially the most exciting day ahead, and one that should shake up the overall classification, the queen stage of this edition of the Tour de France Femmes features two major, classified climbs, for a total of almost 2600 meters of vertical drop. Firstly, the Côte d'Aspin, which takes the riders to just under 1500 metres above sea level, followed by the famous Col du Tourmalet, 17 km long with an average gradient of 7.3%.
Stage 8: Pau > Pau | 22km | Individual time trial
This may be the last chance for some riders to move up in the overall rankings, but for others it may simply be a good day to soak up the roadside atmosphere and finish within the time limit. With a flat start, the riders reach a 2 km climb at 6% after 10 km, then a descent for most of the course before a final whip to the line.
Cédrine Kerbaol: an insight into her goals and preparation for the Tour
“For sure I would like to go for the GC.”
With her eye’s on the general classification and the white jersey here are the thoughts of Cédrine Kerbaol, the newly crowned French time trial champion riding for WNT-Ceratizit Pro Cycling team.
“There is the white jersey for the young rider’s overall classification which could be a goal, I will see how it plays out and what the team decides is best, but I would love to play for the white jersey.” Cédrine, 22, from Brest when asked about competing in her first Tour de France. “I’m excited to wear the French national champ’s jersey and want to represent it as best I can.” Currently ranked 29th in the world this year after accumulating 452 UCI points there’s no doubt Cédrine will do an amazing job of representing her new jersey, I can only imagine the support she’ll receive from the side of the road!
"My two favorite stages are 7 and 8.
Although a true Breton at heart Cédrine is now based in the Pyrenees making the last 2 stages feel somewhat like home. “My two favourite stages are 7 and 8 for sure, with the finish at the top of the Tourmalet and the time trial. I’m really looking forward to these as it’s at home with nice roads and climbs.” If wearing the French national champ’s jersey wasn’t enough when racing her first Tour de France, Cédrine will also be on roads she knows and has studied for the final stage! After finishing 9th on stage 2 of CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées at the top of Hautacam Cédrine has definitely proven she can climb well so keep an eye out for her on stage 7.
"3 weeks at 2300m altitude".
Pre tour preparation means Cedrine is based at a training camp in Italy. “For my preparation we are doing 3 weeks at 2300m of altitude in Livigno, Italy. We plan to start really slow in the first week to adapt to the altitude then gradually increase the volume and include intervals in the last 2 weeks."
"This year, I increased my volume during the winter.
Some could say Cédrine is having a breakthrough in the 2023 season, having been French champion on the road as a junior as well as finishing second in Bretagne Ladies Tour Ceratizit last year among other great results she has never been overlooked. However, this season she has been on another level, winning Tour de Normandie Féminine after going solo on the second stage to take the win. In fact, the last 4 stage races Cédrine has started she has finished in the top 10 overall, including a world tour race, RideLondon Classique.
“This year I increased my volume during the winter compared to my last years, I primarily trained in Portugal where the warmer conditions made training much easier. I’m now based in the Pyrenees which is amazing for training and helped me progress” Cédrine noted when asked what she has changed around her training this year.
If you’d like to hear more about Cédrines journey have a read of this interview from 2021.