Stage 8: Pau to Pau — 22.6 km
Date and time: Sunday, July 30, 2023. The first rider rolls off the line at 14:30, while start of live coverage is at 15:20 CEST. Predicted finish for the final riders is around 17:30 CEST.
Stage type: Individual Time Trial
What to expect: Some riders will fight to jump a spot or two in the general classification while the more aero women shine.
The women’s 2023 Tour de France Femmes will wrap up on Sunday with an individual time trial around Pau, and while we hope the day is exciting, it’s unlikely it will be the top of the general classification that brings the action.
Demi Vollering will start the race last, an honour given to the yellow jersey. In the GC, Vollering leads by almost two minutes, 1:50, over Kasia Niewiadoma, with Annemiek van Vleuten perched in third, 2:28 down on Vollering.
While it’s unlikely Van Vleuten will make up almost two and a half minutes to take yellow (especially considering Vollering herself is quite fast on a TT bike) it is possible the former ITT world champion takes over 28 seconds on Niewiadoma to jump into second.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio in fifth will also be hunting for time. The South African only needs ten seconds to land herself on the podium of the Tour de France Femmes.
By some force of will and strength Lotte Kopecky, who has worn the yellow jersey since stage 1, is still fourth overall after the Col du Tourmalet stage. Kopecky is a fantastic time trialist, so she might also find herself on the GC podium at the end of the day.
The course is not insane. It’s a little technical, with a lot of winding French roads, but the climb midway through the stage is nothing that will drastically impact the results. It’s a race that favours an aero rider, someone who spends time and effort on the craft, and someone who has good handling skills.
The finish in Pau is a short kicker of a climb, roughly where La Course by the Tour de France finished in 2019.
For the last stage win on offer, there are a handful of time trial specialists who have been waiting for their moment to shine. Georgie Howe, one of the Australians on Jayco-AlUla, will be tightening her shoes for this final stage. Dutch ITT champ Riejanne Markus may have kissed her GC hopes goodbye on the Col du Tourmalet, but a stage win is not out of the question. FDJ-Suez’s Grace Brown has been on the attack all week but this is really the stage she was waiting for. And Marlen Reusser, so close on stage 6, will have to make a mistake to lose the race. All eyes will be on the Swiss rider on Sunday.
My pick: It’s impossible to look past Reusser for this stage, especially with how well she rode all week for Vollering and Kopecky. Sure, those efforts may have cost her, but even down a bit of power she’s still the best time trialist in the game right now.
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