The women’s race that accompanies the men’s Tour de France has previously been a circuit race around the classic Champs-Élysées loop in Paris. For 2017 the one-day race has moved to the Alps to tackle a section of the men’s 18th stage (the full length of which doubles up as the 2017 Etape du Tour – full details of route here). Here is the full breakdown of the women’s route:
At only 67km the racing will undoubtably be explosive from km zero in Briançon. A short (1.5km) ramp (6%) at 10km in may provide enough of a springboard for a group to go clear but the road then continues down the valley for another 20km where it breaks away form the men’s course and cuts around Guillestre up another steady climb (4km avg 4%). The course now rejoins the men’s route to the finish with the climb of the Col d’Izoard beginning at around 15.6km remaining (51km from the start).
The steepest pitches of the Izoard are around 12% and occur when leaving the village of Brunissard as the road takes on the first section of hairpins. A short, 0.3km descent with 2.5km remaining leads into the final section through the famous rock formations known as La Casse Déserte. This final 2km is a fairly consistent 8% right to the finish line at the summit.
It is unlikely that a break will be allowed to get much of a gap leading into the main climb with the teams of the main climbers being able to use up their rouleurs over that first 50km and then it’ll be down to the climbers to fight it out amongst the huge crowds that are to be expected on the final climb. With over 7.5km of climbing at 8% and above this climb will certainly provide a good spectacle with hopefully some good TV coverage for those of us watching from home.
Other Women’s WorldTour Events
If there are any professional women or their teams reading this and are interested in getting access to this level of detail for all of their races then please get in touch. I provide this service to some of the men’s WorldTour teams (e.g. Team Sky) but could extend it to the women’s WorldTour teams as well if there is any demand.