The second edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift begins on Sunday 23 July 2023. With only a few days to go before the start in Clermont-Ferrand, the 22 teams have started to announce their selection of seven riders.
Here is a quick overview of who will be part of the number-one team in the UCI world rankings, SD Worx.
By Rob Arnold (Photos: Getty Images, via SD Worx)
The SD Worx team has dominated racing throughout the 2023 season and boasts the number-one ranking for both the UCI’s individual (Demi Vollering) and team classifications. The Dutch outfit had a tough task to whittle down its impressive roster and name just seven riders for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (23-31 July) but the selection has been made and it includes an impressive roll call of talent.
The objective is made clear early in the release that listed the selection of seven riders: “Our ambition is to win the Tour”.
SD Worx is a headline act in pro cycling that has already amassed an amazing tally of 48 victories this year!
Demi Vollering is one of the stars of the show but there are riders for all circumstances in the selection of seven who will line up for stage one in Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday.
Vollering is the runner-up from last year’s TDFF (finishing the eight-stage race 3:48 behind her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten in the general classification). The 26-year-old was also the winner of the Queen of the Mountains title in 2022.
With 12 race victories already in 2023, Vollering sits atop the world rankings with a huge collection of 4,889 UCI points, well clear of the next-best rider, team-mate Lorena Wiebes (3,792pts), while reigning world champion van Vleuten rounds out the top three in the world rankings (with 3,780pts).
We can expect Vollering to be the leader of a strong selection for SD Worx which was named on Monday (17 July).
The line-up for the Dutch team in #TDFF2023 is (in alphabetical order):
- Mischa Bredewolda (NED)
- Elena Cecchini (ITA)
- Lotte Kopecky (BEL)
- Christine Majerus (LUX)
- Marlen Reusser (SUI)
- Demi Vollering (NED)
- Lorena Wiebes (NED)
“Following a successful season so far, Team SD Worx is also setting high targets for the upcoming Tour de France Femmes,” reads the team announcement. “With Demi Vollering, the Dutch World Team is aiming for overall victory in the most important stage race of the year.”
It is a bold statement but a justified approach given the strength of the line-up.
“Our goal is to take home the yellow jersey,” reiterates the DS, Danny Stam. “With this strong and balanced line-up, we will do everything we can to achieve that.”
The team has one of the best looking kits in pro cycling in 2023 but four of the septet will start the TDFF in national champion colours with Vollering, Lotte Kopecky, Christine Majerus and Reusser winning the road race titles in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, respectively, at the end of June.
Alas, there is a notable omission from the selection: the under-23 world champion, the young climbing talent from New Zealand, Niamh Fisher-Black.
Fisher-Black missed out on the opportunity to make her Tour de France debut this year but the fact that the Kiwi contested the recent Giro d’Italia Donne and finished ninth on GC highlights her ability. There’s always next year, when the TDFF will boast a foreign Grand Départ with the first three stages being contested in the Netherlands.
“We chose a group that is complementary and has the qualities to create course situations,” says Stam of the selection for next week’s race. “[There’s] no guarantee that you can just bend the Tour to your will… it is a tough course with some stages that are really difficult.”
SD Worx is confident that Vollering can improve on her podium finish last year and jump up one step to claim the yellow jersey in 2023.
“Demi Vollering has stepped up in every area and is better than last year, but the competition has also come back stronger in recent weeks. I expect we will have a nice Tour with a lot of fight.”
RIDE Media publishes the Official Tour de France Guide (Australian edition).
The magazine is on sale in newsagents around Australia and includes over 50 pages previewing the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.