Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2022: Everything You Need to Know

The route, the prize money and the favourites for the women’s Tour de France revival

La Course
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Eight days of racing, worldwide TV coverage, a €250,000 prize purse and dynamic, mixed-terrain courses. The 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is shaping up to be a great showcasing of women’s cycling, and one we’ve been waiting for since the last official women’s Tour de France was discontinued after 1989. 

So far, the race has more than delivered on its promise with some incredibly exciting racing and star riders such as Marianne Vos and Lorena Wiebes perfoming at their best

With three more stages of action ahead, here's all you need to know about the 2022 Tour de France Femmes.

Women at the Tour de France: a history

Marianne Martin at the 1984 Tour de France

Marianne Martin at the 1984 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While you may see a lot of references to the “inaugural” Tour de France Femmes, there have been several versions of a women’s Tour de France throughout history, dating back to 1955 with the Leulliot race. This, however, was just a one-off five-day race organised by journalist and race director Jean Leulliot. A starting list of 41 women contested the race and was won by Manx cyclist Millie Robinson. The race failed to receive financial backing and did not return for a second year. 

An official women’s Tour de France was launched in 1984. Organised by the Société du Tour de France in conjunction with the men’s event, the women raced on the same day and same, albeit shortened, routes as the men’s race. The women raced for 18 stages for a total length of 991 kilometres. By winning that race, American Marianne Martin is widely recognized as the first official women’s Tour de France winner.  

After two years of a full-length tour, organisers cut the Tour de France Féminin down to two weeks before scrapping the women’s race altogether, citing lack of commercial and media interest. During the six years the race was held, it was very much a battle between the Italian Maria Canins and iconic French racer Jeannie Longo. Canins won the 1985 and 1986 editions while Longo made do with second place. The roles reversed for the next three editions with Longo taking the yellow jersey and Canins in second.

Over the years, several other formations of a women’s Tour de France formed, though none were held in conjunction with the men’s event nor held the same prestige. There was the Tour de la C.E.E. Féminin, which ran from 1990 until 1992, and the Tour Cycliste Féminin which later was renamed La Grande Boucle Féminin Internationale after organisers of the Tour de France, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), claimed trademark infringement. This event featured somewhere between 9 and 13 stages and saw familiar names like Leontien van Moorsel, Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley victorious. The event decreased in the number of stages and competitors as the years went on, and was discontinued after the 2009 edition.

There was also the Tour de l’Aude Féminin and the Route de France Féminine, both held in Southern France but, again, without affiliation to the Tour de France organisations.

In 2014, a large lobbying effort spearheaded by cyclists Kathryn Bertine, Marianne Vos, Emma Pooley and former world triathlon champion Chrissie Wellington, resulted into the A.S.O organising a single-day La Course by le Tour de France women’s race, held on the cobbles of Champs-Élysées on the same day at the men’s final stage of the Tour de France. La Course continued to be held in various (at times, experimental) formats and locations until the ASO announced its inaugural Tour de France Femmes, the closest thing to an actual women’s Tour de France since 1989.

The 2022 Tour de France Femmes - an Overview

La Course

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dates: July 24 - July 31

Number of teams: 24

Number of riders: up to 168

Number of stages: 8

Total distance: 1,029 kilometres 

Prize money: There is a total of €250,000 in prize money, including €50,000 for the overall winner. While among the biggest prize purses on the women's calendar, this pales to the men’s Tour de France prize money which sees the winner takes home €500,000 and the prize purse totals a whopping €2,288,450. 

Tour de France Femmes 2022 Preview Video

Tour de France Femmes 2022 Route

Tour de France Femmes route

(Image credit: ASO)

The eight-day race will start at the Eiffel Tower, and the Tour de France Femmes route will then consist of seven further stages before finishing atop the La Planche des Belles Filles ski resort. There will be flat sprint and mountain top finishes, cobbles and gravel sectors, city streets and country lanes. 

July 24: Eiffel Tower > Champs-Élysées
Flat, cobbles, 82 kilometres

Home to the first three editions of La Course, this flat circuit stage that’s almost destined to be won by a sprinter. The peloton will ride 12 laps of the 6.8km circuit before finishing on the famed cobbled stretch in front of the Arc de Triomphe. 

July 25: Meaux > Provins
Flat, 136.5 kilometres

From the city into the country roads of the Brie region. Stage 2 features some familiar roads for those who’ve ridden Tour L’Avenir. Plenty of riders will leave their mark on TdFF before the roads turn up. The course gets a little bumpy toward the end so whoever wants to claim the stage win, and the jersey, will need a decent punch. 

July 26: Reims > Épernay
Hilly, 133 kilometres

Now in the Champagne region, the roads are starting to turn up and the bumpy course profile suggests plenty of breakaway potential. It’s likely we’ll see the yellow jersey changing backs on this day.

July 27: Troyes > Bar-Sur-Aube
Gravel day! 126 kilometres

Hills and gravel. If the gravelly stage 5 of the men’s Tour de France is anything to go by, then we’re in for a treat. With four unpaved sectors and an undulating  course profile, you won’t want to miss the action on this stage.

July 28: Bar-le-Duc > Saint-Dié-des-Vosges
Flat, looong 175 kilometres

One last flat stage before we head toward the mountains. This is the longest stage of the Tour as well as the longest professional women's road race stage in modern history, surpassing the 170km stage that the peloton undertook at the 2020 Giro Rosa. With the GC taking shape and the legs tired from the first four days, the race may be a defensive one and is likely to end in a bunch sprint. 

July 29: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges > Rosheim
Hilly rollercoaster, 128 kilometres

A rollercoaster stage with four categorised climbs scattered along the route, stage six is one for the puncheurs. The final climb comes just nine kilometres from the finish, which if timed right could favour a daring soloist with time trialling prowess. 

July 30: Sélestat > Le Markstein
Mountainous,  127 kilometres

The Tour now becomes a climber’s competition. After a gentle start, the peloton will tackle three of the toughest mountain passes in the Vosges. And upon reaching the top of the third pass, the Grand Ballon, the route will follow the ridge line towards the Markstein. Perhaps the most challenging stage on paper, only the strongest climbers will contest the jersey.

July 31: Lure > Super Planche des Belles Filles
A grande, mountainous finale, 123 kilometres

For the grande finale, the inaugural Tour de France Femmes ends on a high: atop one of France's most iconic climbs: La Super Planche Des Belles Filles. Two categorised climbs precede the summit finish, where jersey hopefuls can test their legs and try for a breakaway, though it’s likely the real racing will play out on the ascent up to Planche Des Belles Filles.

Giro Donne Podium 2022

Fresh off her third overall win of the hilly and brutal Giro Donne, Annemiek van Vleuten is a top favourite.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tour de France Femmes 2022 Race Favourites

It’s no secret that all the peloton’s biggest stars have been preparing for this event and the chance to write their name into the history books. 

While the official start list is yet to be announced, look to familiar faces like Marianne “the G.O.A.T”  Vos (Jumbo-Visma), breakout rider Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx, sprinter sensation Lorena Wiebes (DSM) and world champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) to go for the early stage wins and vie for the sprinters jersey. Vos and Balsamo showed tremendous form at the Giro Donne in early July as they scored multiple sprint wins each. 

But with the final weekend taking place in the mountains, the yellow jersey will likely be contested by the best climbers. Of course, fresh off her third overall win of the hilly and brutal Giro Donne, Annemiek van Vleuten is a top favourite. 

Two minutes down from Van Vleuten and holding her own in the Italian mountains was Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope). Earlier this season, the 24-year-old showed that she’s not timid when it comes to taking on the biggest names in the peloton when she left her mark on the Ardennes Classics with wins at both Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne.

And while she came up short in the Ardennes, look to Demi Vollering to lead the always competitive SD Worx squad in the mountains. With three stage wins, the Dutch woman took the Itzulia overall classification with confidence in May and backed that performance up by also winning the polka dot jersey at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas later that month. 

Other climbers to watch are French woman Juliette Labous (DSM), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco), Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ) and Kristen Faulkner (BikeExchange-Jayco).

Tour de France Femmes 2022 Provisional Start List

Canyon//SRAM Racing
Alena Amialiusik
Tiffany Cromwell
Elise Chabbey 
Soraya Paladin Soraya
Pauliena Rooijakkers 
Katarzyna Niewiadoma

EF Education-Tibco-SVB
Emily Newsom 
Magdeleine Vallieres
Krista Doebel-Hickok
Veronica Ewers 
Katrin Hammes 
Letizia Borghesi 

FDJ- Suez - Futuroscope
Marie Le Net
Vittoria Guazzini 
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
Évita Muzic 
Marta Cavalli 
Grace Brown 

Human Powered Health
Lily Williams
Marit Raaijmakers 
Barbara Malcotti
Nina Buijsman 
Henrietta Christie 
Antri Christoforou

Liv Racing Xstra 
Valerie Demey
Rachele Barbieri
Thalita De Jong 
Silke Smulders 
Sabrina Stultiens 
Jeanne Korevaar

Movistar Team 
Aude Biannic 
Arlenis Sierra 
Sheyla Gutiérrez 
Andrea Paula Patiño 
Emma Norsgaard 
Annemiek Van Vleuten 

Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
Caroline Baur 
Olga Zabelinskaya
Rotem Gafinovitz 
Petra Stiasny Petra
Tamara Dronova-Balabolina 
Hannah Buch 

Team Bikeexchange - Jayco
Ane Santesteban 
Kristen Faulkner
Amanda Spratt 
Ruby Roseman-Gannon
Alexandra Manly 
Urska Zigart

Team DSM 
Franziska Koch
Charlotte Kool 
Liane Lippert 
Lorena Wiebes 
Juliette Labous 
Pfeiffer Georgi 

Team Jumbo-Visma 
Riejanne Markus 
Noemi Rüegg 
Karlijn Swinkels 
Anna Henderson 
Marianne Vos 
Romy Kasper

Team SD Worx 
Christine Majerus 
Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak 
Demi Vollering 
Lotte Kopecky
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio 
Marlen Reusser 

Trek - Segafredo 
Leah Thomas 
Shirin van Anrooij 
Elisa Longo Borghini
Elisa Balsamo 
Audrey Cordon-Ragot 
Ellen Van Dijk 

UAE Team ADQ 
Sofia Bertizzolo 
Erica Magnaldi 
Eugenia Bujak 
Mavi García 
Marta Bastianelli 
Maaike Boogaard 

Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 
Mie Bjørndal Ottestad
Anne Dorthe Ysland 
Hannah Barnes
Hannah Ludwig
Julie Leth 
Joscelin Lowden 

Ceratizit-Wnt Pro Cycling
Sandra Alonso
Laura Asencio
Lisa Brennauer
Maria Giulia Confalonieri
Marta Lach
Kathrin Schweinberger

Parkhotel Valkenburg
Mischa Bredewold 
Femke Gerritse 
Femke Markus 
Anne Van Rooijen 
Quinty Schoens 
Nicole Frain 

Valcar - Travel & Service
Olivia Baril 
Alice Maria Arzuffi
Chiara Consonni 
Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini
Silvia Persico 
Llaria Sanguineti

AG Insurance - Nxtg Team 
Ally Wollaston 
Julia Borgström
Anya Louw 
Ilse Pluimers
Gaia Masetti
Lone Meertens 

Arkéa Pro Cycling Team
Greta Richioud 
Anais Morichon 
Pauline Allin 
Yuliia Biriukova
Morgane Coston
Amandine Fouquenet 

Cofidis Women Team
Victoire Berteau 
Sandra Lévénez
Martina Alzini 
Rachel Neylan 
Valentine Fortin 
Alana Castrique 

Le Col - Wahoo
Eva Van Agt
Jesse Vandenbulcke
Marjolein Van 't Geloof 
Elizabeth Holden
Gladys Verhulst 
Maike van der Duin

Plantur-Pura
Kim De Baat 
Christina Schweinberger 
Laura Süßemilch
Sanne Cant 
Julie de Wilde 
Yara Kastelijn

Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime
Noémie Abgrall 
Frances Janse van Rensburg
India Grangier 
Séverine Eraud
Natalie Grinczer
Maeva Squiban

24 St Michel - Auber93 WE
Alison Avoine
Sandrine Bideau 
Simone Boilard 
Coralie Demay 
Barbara Fonseca
Margot Pompanon

How to Watch the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2022

Demi Vollering wins the 8th La Course by Le Tour in 2021

Demi Vollering wins the 8th La Course by Le Tour in 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In Europe, the Tour de France Femmes broadcasting rights belong to Discovery Sports and Eurovision Sport. Viewers can watch the live, ad-free coverage via Discovery Sports' portfolio of channels, including Eurosport's linear channels and relevant streaming platforms. 

U.S. fans can watch the race on Peacock and CNBC. 

Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist.