'I feel happy the organisation took it seriously': Annemiek van Vleuten pleased with varied terrain on offer at Tour de France Femmes

The UCI Women's WorldTour leader is pleased with the mix of terrain in the Tour de France Femmes route

Annemiek van Vleuten at the Challenge by La Vuelta
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten says she is "happy the organisation took it seriously" when creating the Tour de France Femmes route for 2022.

Van Vleuten, who is currently the UCI Women's WorldTour leader, is likely going to be starting the race as one of the big favourites for the race's first overall win.

The Movistar star is currently in rehabilitation after suffering multiple injuries in a crash at the first-ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes on Saturday, October 2 where she fractured her pubis bone (front of the pelvis) in two places.

>>> Tour de France Femmes 2022 route analysis: A ground-breaking parcours that will have a thrilling denouement

Van Vleuten shared her thoughts on the eight-day route, saying that it has "something for everyone." 

"First of all, I feel happy the organisation took it serious," she said. "I have the feeling that, with this route, they made an effort to organise something good and representative. From a quick look, they did a good job in having something for everyone in these eight days of racing.

“Of course, I like the mountain stages, but I’m also happy, for example, to see that we start on the Champs-Élysées. It’s a really nice connection with the men’s Tour de France, to start where they finish. 

"I like that setup because sometimes people are sad that the Tour de France comes to an end – this time, they can watch the women’s Tour de France. It’s nice that the two races are connected, while not being held at the same time. I like that concept."

The women's race starts just before the final stage of the men's race, much like the old La Course by Le Tour did when it was held in Paris. After that the women's race heads towards the Vosges mountains with varying terrain on the way.

While there is no time trial for the former world champion, Van Vleuten is very pleased with some of the mountains the race faces.

"What also makes me excited is that they also put effort to take us into famous climbs, with names that everyone knows," continued Van Vleuten. 

"If I see the Petit Ballon, the Grand Ballon, Planche des Belles Filles in this Tour de France, it’s a really good move from the organisation.

"La Planche is a finish which I really look forward to, and one that I don’t know, so I for sure will go do a recon there."

The last winner of La Course, Demi Vollering is also very pleased with the route as she looks to become the next leader for her SD Worx team with Anna van der Breggen hanging up the bike to retire and join the team as a sports director.

Vollering said on a video posted to Instagram by her team: "When I saw the last two days I got really excited. It's also close to where I live in Switzerland, so I've trained there already once and it's really cool area.

"I did the Grand Ballon and finished on the Planche des Belles Filles, so actually, yeah, I've trained a bit for this race without knowing - Belles Filles is a climb I really like."

Vollering added that she is keen to use the gravel early on in the race to create gaps and do "something cool".

The Tour de France Femmes begins on July 24 in Paris and finishes on July 31 on the gravel of the Super Planche des Belles Filles.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.