It took 59 years but last week, finally, the best young riders in the women’s peloton got to race the Tour de l’Avenir.
First raced in 1961, the ‘Tour of the Future’ has long been the premier stage race for U23 men and a reliable barometer of which young riders will go on to become top pros (former winners include Tadej Pogačar, Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana). Once the men’s race finished their eight-stage last week (with 19-year-old Mexican Isaac del Toro taking top honours) the world’s best female U23 riders took to the roads of France for five days of hard racing without those pesky elite riders to spoil their fun.
Many of the race’s top names would have been familiar to anyone who’s followed women’s WorldTour racing this season – the likes of Shirin van Anrooij, Gaia Realini, Antonia Niedermaier, and Anna Shackley were all there, and all riding well.
Also there was photographer Anouk Flesch who filed the selection of photos you can see in the gallery below. These images aren’t a comprehensive breakdown of how each stage of the race unfolded, but rather a selection of moments throughout the five days of this historic race.