The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift has attracted an eclectic mix of viewers, with Tadej Pogačar, Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas and First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden all sharing their support for the event in recent days.
After the opening stage of the Tour on Sunday, Dr. Jill Biden tweeted (opens in new tab) her pride in witnessing the momentous race once again.
"What an amazing Stage 1 of the Tour de France Femmes," she tweeted, "and such a great sight to see after 33 long years. Wishing the best of luck to Florida native, Lily Williams, and all the cyclists competing this week."
What an amazing Stage 1 of @LeTourFemmes — and such a great sight to see after 33 long years. Wishing the best of luck to Florida native, @lily_bwilliams, and all the cyclists competing this week. https://t.co/Ygqp7Y2YIcJuly 24, 2022
Including Lily Williams (Human Powered Health), Biden has six American riders to cheer on, with Kristen Faulkner (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo) and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB riders Emily Newsom, Krista Doebel-Hickok and Veronica Ewers all competing at the Tour.
Meanwhile, Tadej Pogačar is watching his fiancée Urška Žigart (BikeExchange-Jayco) compete, just days after he came second overall in the men's race.
“I love to watch women's cycling,” Pogačar told Cycling Weekly (opens in new tab). "It's more complicated than men's cycling and more interesting. There’s more attacking, you never know what's gonna happen and I think it makes it really, really fun to watch.”
The Slovenian watched the race on Monday, and will spend the next few days watching on the TV, before returning in person for the final two stages as the peloton tackle the Grand Ballon and Le Planche Des Belles Filles - where Pogačar himself broke the climbing record last month.
He's not alone in sports stars in attendance, though.
Valtteri Bottas, in between racing at the French Grand Prix last weekend and the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix, has watched his girlfriend, Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM), riding in the Tour. For the Alfa Romeo driver, taking time to experience this race seemed of paramount importance to him.
"This is kind of an historical event, and thank God that the people who organised this made it happen, because I feel like it's about a time," he told Cycling Weekly (opens in new tab).
"So I definitely wanted to have the time, even if it's for just a couple of days, to feel the atmosphere and the hype and a different kind of race," he said.
The opening three stages have lived up to expectations, too, with Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) winning the first stage on the Champs-Élysées, before Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) triumphed on the second day.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope) managed to pip the yellow jersey of Vos to the line on the third stage to Épernay, in what proved a strong performance for the Danish road race champion.
Race support 🍼#VB77 #TDFF @LeTourFemmes @tiffanycromwell @WMNcycling pic.twitter.com/fCXmcCKSC9July 26, 2022
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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