The second Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is underway. In Clermont-Ferrand there was both the start and finish of the first stage (122 kilometres). Mavi García made a convincing appearance with a ninth place (+ 0.43” behind Lotte Kopecky, who won solo). Silke Smulders is second in the youth classification after the first day (+ 0.34” behind Cédrine Kerbaol).
Jeanne Korevaar thoroughly enjoyed the first day of the Tour de France Femmes. “The attention today was overwhelming: at the start, along the way and at the finish, there were rows of enthusiastic cycling fans. It’s great that people come in such large numbers to watch us. And of course I also know that there are many people who follow us remotely. This is a fantastic platform for our sport.”
Slow start, fast finish
The pace in the first stage was initially not very fast and attacks were sparse. “The stage went pretty much as we had plotted it beforehand. The race was relatively slow, which sometimes makes it even more difficult than when it goes hard. Moreover, there were few breakaways, probably because all the teams knew that would be wasted effort. From kilometre 80, with the hills approaching, the pace went up.”
Jeanne Korevaar proved to be a real team player there. “As a team, we had set the goal to put Mavi García in a good position. And Silke Smulders had a protected status as well, with an eye on the youth classification. In the hilly section we positioned the team at the front, which worked out pretty well. Just before the Côte de Durtol my work was done.”
She gets a lot of satisfaction from her work. “When I heard that Mavi had achieved such a strong performance, it made me feel really good. It motivates tremendously when your GC rider is in good shape. We also know that Mavi improves the longer the race lasts. A lot of the stages suit her very well, so I’m racing around here with a good feeling.”
Team manager Wim Stroetinga is also positive. “Mavi is strong, the team supported her well today when the course started to undulate. Early in the race our riders were at the front, maybe even a bit too early. Tomorrow we would like to race as alert again as we did today. Then the course will be even slightly harder than today, with 2,600 altimeters. I hope that we make such a good impression as a team again.”