Tour de France Femmes 2023 set to feature Tourmalet summit finish

The climb would be the race's toughest mountain test

The 2019 Tour de France peloton nears the summit of the Col du Tourmalet.
(Image credit: Getty)

Next year’s Tour de France Femmes could be set for a summit finish on the iconic Col du Tourmalet, according to French radio network RTL. 

On Monday, French journalist Nicolas Georgereau tweeted what he expects to be the route for the race’s second edition in 2023.  “Starting in Clermont-Ferrand and finishing in Pau,” Georgereau wrote, “with notably a summit finish on the Tourmalet.” 

At 2,115m altitude, the Tourmalet is one of the highest paved mountains in the French Pyrenees. If the climb is included in next year’s Tour de France Femmes route, it would mark the race’s highest ever point as well as its first hors catégorie ascent.

In this year’s edition, the highest point was the Col du Platzerwasel, which stands at 1,193m and came on the penultimate stage.

Tour de France organisers have long had an affinity with the Pyrenean giant. The Tourmalet's first inclusion in the men’s race came in 1910, and it has featured a total of 87 times, more than any other mountain pass. 

The last rider to triumph atop the mountain was Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who climbed the its slopes fastest on stage 14 of the 2019 Tour de France. The following year, the climb was due to be visited by the Vuelta a España, but the stage was ultimately cancelled due to Covid-19 travel restrictions

Though it is unknown what side of the Tourmalet the Tour de France might scale, the eastern ascent of the climb gains 1,268m over 17.2km, while the western ascent gains 1,404m over 19km. Both have average gradients of 7%, with pitches in excess of 10%.

The mountain would be a welcome inclusion for this year's race winner Annemiek van Vleuten, who has spoken of her desire to see a HC climb introduced into the route. 

“Actually I would hope, because next year will be the last year [her final year before retirement], that we can maybe have Alpe d’Huez,” the 40-year-old told the press after her victory. “Being Dutch, that would be super cool to have that back.” 

The Tourmalet has previously starred in the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale, another historic women’s Tour de France equivalent, hosting a summit finish in 2000.

The official 2023 Tour de France Femmes route will be announced in a presentation in Paris this Thursday.

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.