Tour de France Femmes gravel stage throws up a tyre choice conundrum for team mechanics

Tubeless, tubular, tubed or tire insert: the much-anticipated gravel stage was a mechanics’ conundrum

Tires used in the Tour de France Femmes gravel stage
(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

Stage 5 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift was arguably the most anticipated stage before the Tour heads into the mountains. After four days of racing, the undulated profile with plenty of sharp, steep climbs alone would put a sting in anyone’s legs. But, adding to the difficulty of the stage were technical, narrow roads on old and rough tarmac as well as four gravel sections. Nearly 13 kilometers were held on the white roads of France’s stunning champagne region, making the day a puzzle for the team mechanics. 

The gravel sectors made up a relatively small amount of the race — only 13 kilometers in total —but with the risk of punctures, crashes and straight-up bad luck, equipment places a crucial role. 

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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. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.