Tadej Pogačar and Urška Žigart aren't the only power couple at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift this week. Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) made his first appearance at the Tour today in support of his girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell of Canyon-SRAM.
The pair are often spotted supporting each other at their respective competitions, and despite having just a few days between his own races, Bottas told Cycling Weekly that he simply couldn't miss this momentous occasion.
"This is kind of an historical event, and thank God that the people who organized this made it happen, because I feel like it's about a time. So I definitely wanted to have the time, even if it's for just a couple of days, to feel the atmosphere and the hype and a different kind of race," he said.
"I was expecting this event to be a big one, but it's nice to see that they've made a nice job about it. People are really talking about it a lot."
It's also fitting that Bottas will be here for stage 4, the gravel stage. He's an avid gravel cyclist himself and has raced at events like this year's Belgian Waffle Ride and the 2021 SBT GRVL, where he bested some 500 riders to end up in fifth place overall in the 64-mile distance. The Finnish driver is even partnering up with the organizers of SBT GRVL to host a brand new gravel race in his home country, titled FNLD GRVL, in 2023.
Bottas hadn't known much about bike racing and women's cycling in particular before meeting his pro cyclist girlfriend, but he's definitely a fan now.
"Since meeting Tiff I've definitely have a different view of the sport now, and I've learned that it's highly competitive and, I feel, underestimated. It's been really interesting getting into it," Bottas said.
"The racing dynamics are really interesting and it never gets boring. And I don't think it's actually that bad thing that the stages are a bit shorter than men's events, because it means that there's less dull moments let's say. They're all top, top athletes and have dedicated their lives to the sport, and it's always nice to follow top athletes."
Besides being a cheerleader, Bottas is being put to work, handing out bottles in the feedzone for Canyon-SRAM.
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