'I still can't believe it' - Demi Vollering wins Tour de France Femmes 2023

SD Worx rider seals yellow jersey with three-minute gap, as team-mate Marlen Reusser triumphs on stage eight

Demi Vollering in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France Femmes 2023
(Image credit: Getty)

In the end, the final stage of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift was a formality. 

Demi Vollering (SD Worx), the standout winner of Saturday’s seventh stage, went from champion-elect to champion in Pau, placing second in the closing individual time trial, and sealing her yellow jersey by three minutes and three seconds.

Her face at the start of the day painted a picture of confidence. As she warmed up on her turbo trainer, yellow skinsuit hanging around her waist, she breathed calmly, focused and relaxed.

"I felt a bit too relaxed when I woke up," she told the press, including Cycling Weekly, in Pau. "[It was] almost already in the pocket, but of course I needed to still ride the time trial." 

As the race leader, the Dutchwoman was the last rider to tackle the 22.6km course, an out-and-back loop from the city's Place de Verdun. She began the day with an almost two-minute lead, but refused to treat it as a procession. 

"I told myself I had a goal to also do a good time trial here," she said, and under overcast skies, she ended up exceeding her expectations. 

Just 10 seconds separated Vollering's time in Pau from that of the stage winner, her team-mate and European champion Marlen Reusser, who stopped the clock at 29-15, averaging 46.359km/h. 

"I still can't believe it," Vollering said of her overall victory. "I think, in the coming days, I need to have some relaxation with my family, and some calmness also to realise what I've done.

"It's amazing what we did this week. We had a lot of ups, of course there were also some crazy downs, but mostly ups. I think we really showed how strong our team is and also how motivated we are to take the best out of the day and to really fight for stage wins. We really make each other stronger."

Demi Vollering in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France Femmes 2023

(Image credit: Getty)

Of the eight stages on offer at this year's race, SD Worx won four, stamping their imprint as the WorldTour's presiding squad. 

The stage result on the final day told a story of SD Worx dominance, too. Behind Reusser and Vollering came Lotte Kopecky, 38 seconds down in third place. The Belgian champion's performance meant she jumped from fourth to second in the overall standings, overtaking third by a fraction of a second. 

Being on the podium, Kopecky explained, was a feat she had never imagined. 

"I surprised myself quite a lot," the green jersey winner said with a smile. "Especially yesterday [finishing sixth on the Tourmalet] actually, being one of the better sprinters, and also one of the better climbers, and also a good time trialist. 

"Before this Tour, I was not really aiming for GC, I was not thinking about this." 

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram), the winner of the polka dot jersey, rounded out the podium, while last year's champion, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), finished fourth, 3-59 down on Vollering. The 40-year-old came 14th in the time trial, 1-41 off Reusser's pace. 

"Too bad about the last two days. I underperformed," Van Vleuten told the press. "I don't know what's going on, but I certainly wasn't okay the last two days." 

General classification: Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2023

1. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx, in 25-17-35
2. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-Sram, both at 3-03
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar, at 3-59
5. Juliette Labous (Fra) dsm-firmenich, at 4-48
6. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Zaf) AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step, at 5-21
7. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-Suez, at 9-09
8. Ane Santesteban (Esp) Jayco AlUla, at 9-36
9. Ricarda Bauernfeind (Ger) Canyon-Sram, at 9-56
10. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Lidl-Trek, at 10-14

Stage eight results: Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2023

1. Marlen Reusser (Sui) SD Worx, in 29-15
2. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx, at 10s
3. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx, at 38s
4. Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ-Suez, at 40s
5. Riejanne Markus (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 50s
6. Juliette Labous (Fra) dsm-firmenich, at 1-17
7. Olivia Baril (Can) UAE Team ADQ, at 1-18
8. Vittoria Guazzini (Ita) FDJ-Suez, at 1-21
9. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-Sram, at 1-23
10. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Lidl-Trek, at 1-30

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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.