Tour de France Femmes stage 7 report: Vollering takes patient and powerful victory on the Tourmalet

Niewiadoma led solo onto the Col du Tourmalet after an audacious descent, and hung on for second behind new race leader Vollering.

Demi Vollering (SD Worx) passes Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) on her way to stage 7 victory at the 2023 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Photo: © Cor Vos

Kit Nicholson
by Kit Nicholson 29.07.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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The long-anticipated ascent of the Col du Tourmalet was expected to draw some spectacular drama on its return to women’s pro cycling, and stage 7 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift did not disappoint. The protagonists were many on a day that could have been very different, and after mind games with Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) in the valley, a ferocious descent from Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), and a determined chase driven by SD Worx, it was Demi Vollering who emerged from the mist to take a confident solo victory and move into the yellow jersey with one stage to go.



Van Vleuten throws down the gauntlet on the Col d’Aspin.

Quote of the day

“Of course, I’m disappointed,” Van Vleuten admitted to the media scrum around her turbo trainer at the Tourmalet summit. “I was hoping to have a way better day, I didn’t have my best day out there.”

After initiating the move over the Aspin and seeing Niewiadoma disappear down the descent, there was an exchange of words between Van Vleuten and Vollering who didn’t want to pull at the time.

“She didn’t want to ride, so I said if you don’t ride then I also don’t ride. But she also had a point, she had two teammates behind… For me the goal to attack on Aspin was not to drop everyone there, it was more to do a first effort, but maybe in the end it was not so smart; for my shape of today it was not the best plan. But you never know that, and I always like to race with my heart and you always need to focus on your strengths, and usually that’s my capacity and endurance, so that’s why I went.”

Van Vleuten now sits 2:28 off Vollering in the overall standings with only the stage 8 ITT to go.

“Ah, we’ll see,” she said when asked about her hopes of defending her 2022 title. “I’m here to win the Tour de France. To become second or third or maybe fourth – to be honest, it’s super beautiful, but after winning last year, then you know that you only want to win and it’s obvious that Demi Vollering was on another level today.”

Mind games to the soundtrack of Van Vleuten’s squealing disc brakes.

Social media highlights

It was quite the scene at the summit.

Behind the GC contenders, the rest of the peloton had more time to savour an iconic summit finish, including Lucinda Brand who made riding up >10% gradients with no hands look alarmingly easy…

One of, if not the ride of the day came from incumbent race leader Lotte Kopecky who stuck with the favourites until her teammate launched the decisive move in the last 6 kilometres. The Classics and track specialist finished sixth on the Tourmalet, dropping to fourth overall, just seven seconds in arrears of Van Vleuten!

Niewiadoma was delighted with second place on the hors-category climb, and her effort did not go unnoticed by anyone.

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