Stage 1: Clermont-Ferrand to Clermont-Ferrand — 123.8 km
Date: Sunday, July 23, 2023
Stage Type: Hilly
What to watch for: Attacks to fly on the Category 3 climb near the finish in an attempt to drop the sprinters but a possible reduced bunch sprint on the line.
Stage summary: A pretty flat first 90ish km until the first Sprint at 97.1 km into the stage where bonus seconds are on the line. The only categorized climb of the day hits 112.8 km into the stage but only lasts 1.7 km. However, at 7.2% average and with the top only 9.3 km from the finish some fast women will struggle to remain in contact if enough riders attack on the ascent.
The climb also means Mountains Classification points on offer and Canyon-SRAM in particular loves any chance to take a jersey. Expect the fight for polka-dots to light up the climb and for any gutsy rider who wants that first yellow jersey to capitalize off those attacks.
My pick: Despite the climb, it looks like a stage for Lorena Wiebes. The European Champion has no trouble getting herself over a climb that short and is nearly unbeatable in a fast finish.
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