Tour de France Femmes 2023 route reaches new heights with Tourmalet and time trial

The HC climb headlines the route, with an individual time trial introduced for the first time

Tour de France Femmes 2023 route
(Image credit: ASO / Tour de France Femmes)

The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will step up another level in 2023, with a summit finish on the Col du Tourmalet and a final day individual time trial. 

Announced at a presentation inside Paris's Palais des Congrès on Thursday, the official route for the race’s second edition will be concentrated in the south and southwest of France, starting in Clermont-Ferrand before heading down into the Pyrenees, ending in Pau.

The race will start with a punchy lap of the Gothic city, where the first yellow jersey will be awarded. Clermont-Ferrand will then host the départ on stage two, when the riders will take on a rolling course en route to Mauriac with over 2,500m of climbing.

Day three will see the peloton ride through the Dordogne, before a 177km stage - the longest in women’s WorldTour history - will take place between Cahors and Rodez. The riders will face some challenging climbs on stage four, with a sequence of tough côtes to tackle in the finale.

On stage five, the sprinters will have their day in Albi. A lumpy stage into Blagnac will follow, before the race shifts closer to the Spanish border and into the Pyrenees.

The only summit finish comes on stage seven, the penultimate day, when the iconic Col du Tourmalet will become the first hors catégorie climb ever scaled in the Tour de France Femmes. The peloton will climb the Col d’Aspin first, before taking on the eastern ascent of the 17km-long Pyrenean giant from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan.

Standing at 2,115m altitude, the Tourmalet will mark the race’s highest ascent to date, trumping last year’s 1,193m Col du Platzerwasel by almost 1,000m.

Tour de France organisers have long had an affinity with the the Tourmalet, which was first introduced into the men’s race in 1910, and has featured a total of 87 times, more than any other mountain pass. The climb also starred in the 2000 edition of the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale, a historic women’s Tour de France equivalent.

The 2023 Tour de France Femmes will conclude with its first individual time trial, a 22km lap of Pau. Dutchwoman Marianne Vos came out on top last time the women’s peloton visited the city, claiming her second victory in La Course in 2019.

The eight-stage race will run from 23 July to 30 July 2023.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Stage one, 23 July 2023Clermont-Ferrand to Clermont Ferrand124km
Stage two, 24 July 2023Clermont-Ferrand to Mauriac148km
Stage three, 25 July 2023Collonges-La-Rouge to Montignac-Lascaux147km
Stage four, 26 July 2023Cahors to Rodez177km
Stage five, 27 July 2023Onet-Le-Château to Albi126km
Stage six, 28 July 2023Albi to Blagnac122km
Stage seven, 29 July 2023Lannemezan to Tourmalet Bagnères-De-Bigorre90km
Stage eight, 30 July 2023Pau to Pau22km (ITT)

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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.