This Sunday the second edition of the Tour de France Femmes begins in Clermont-Ferrand. A peloton of 154 riders will start in for what for a lot them is ’thé race of the year’. We are proud to say that AK Sportpromotions is working with fourteen of them and we are looking forward to see all our riders give their best. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Olivia Baril and Annemiek van Vleuten will be aiming for the podium of the general classification, while for Margaux Vigié it will be an extra special race. A couple of the stages go over the training roads of the French cyclist.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (picture above) had a very good start of the Tour de France Femmes in 2022, but had to leave the race after getting sick. After a very strong first part of this season, she is back for more now. “I am really looking forward towards this year’s edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. I have put in all the hard work and feel that I am in the best shape possible”, she says. “Now I am excited to be with my teammates and give it my absolute best.”
Moolman Pasio expects eight days of hard racing. “I think it is a very exciting Tour this year. There is a bit of everything. Every day includes climbing, so there is no totally flat stage. I think the first half is going to be exciting, because it is quite explosive. And then obviously the last weekend, I am really looking forward to. It is close to home and I think there will be a lot of people from Girona to watch on the Tourmalet stage and the time trial in Pau, so I am really looking forward to that.”
For the team leader of AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step there will be some special support. “I am also really looking forward to having some really important family members watching me. My mother, my mother in law, sister in law, niece, god mother, aunt, uncle and my husband Carl will be there. So a lot of family members from far away, from South Africa, are coming over to watch me race. That is going to give me extra motivation. Of course I am riding for my Rocacorba Collective and for my charity project Khaltsha Cycles. So, I have a real deep purpose and I think that is going to give me a lot of strength.”
A real ‘home Tour de France’
The Tour de France Femmes is this year raced in the middle and south of France. That makes it a real home race for Margaux Vigié (picture below). The French rider of Lifeplus-Wahoo, knows a lot of the roads from her training rides. “I can’t wait to start this kinda ‘home’ Tour de France”, she says. “The most important race of the year is taking place in the ‘Sud-Ouest’, it’s amazing! So many family members and friends told me that they will come to watch. I prepared it so much and I can not wait to start! Being a cyclist is hard, which means many sacrifices on family/friends moments, but having them on the side of a race like le Tour de France is an incredible sentiment of proudness and excitement!”
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AK Sportpromotions riders in Tour de France
From the fourteen riders of AK Sportpromotions in the Tour de France Femmes, we represent thirteen being their manager. Those riders are Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Lotta Henttala, Maaike Boogaard, Mireia Benito (all AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step), Lara Vieceli, Lizzie Stannard, Fien Delbaere, Nathalie Eklund (all Israel-Premier Tech), Olivia Baril (Team UAE – ADQ), Marjolein van ’t Geloof (Human Powered Health), Silke Smulders (Liv Racing TeqFind), Esmée Peperkamp (Team DSM) and Margaux Vigié (Lifeplus-Wahoo). Last year’s Tour de France Femmes winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) we support with her website and social media.
Different stories and goals
Vigié and Moolman Pasio are of course not the only one with goals for the Tour de France Femmes. On the Instagram account of AK Sportpromotions, the fourteen riders all talk about their expectations in the stories and a post. Canadian Olivia Baril (picture below) for example is another rider who comes to France with GC-ambitions; “I’m really happy to be starting the second edition of the Tour de France”, she tells. “I couldn’t be competitive last year, as I was recovering from a bad knee injury that happened at the Giro. Fortunately my team (Valcar) gave me the opportunity to race and so I have that experience for this year. I have GC aspirations and like the other GC riders, I worked a lot on time-trialing. I hope that us women can put on a show for spectators, like Jonas and Tadej did.”
Lara Vieceli will be racing with her team Israel Premier Tech Roland in a supporting role. She also has a special story, referring back to her childhood. “The Tour de France Femmes is the most iconic race for every cyclist, and it’s incredible to think that I will race it, remembering I was ‘playing’ Le Tour when I was a child”, the experienced Italian cyclist says. “After the injury I had in March, I didn’t know if I could be back and get the spot. I am really proud that I managed and I will give my best to honour the race.”
Spanish time trial champion Mireia Benito will also be in a supporting role, for AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step leader Ashleigh Moolman Pasio. “Being at the start line of the Tour de France Femmes was one of my personal goals for this year. I love stage racing and being in the biggest stage race of the world is just amazing. It’s crazy how much we have worked, sacrificed and how many times we said to ourselves ‘keep going, some day it will pay off’, just to be ready for a race like this. Now is that moment, when all the work pays off. I’m super motivated and I will be 200% committed to the team’s goal. We aim big and we are a strong and happy team, so for sure we will be in the battle for the GC with Ash.”
Watch the Tour de France Femmes
The Tour de France Femmes has quickly grown to be the biggest cycling race for women, after the attention it got last year. That won’t be different this year. In most countries the race will be shown live on the open television channels like for example NPO1, Sporza and ARD, while the race will also be shown on Eurosport. From all stages at least the last 2,5 hours of the race will be live on television. All information about the Tour de France Femmes can be found on the website of the organisation.
Photo’s: Daan van Overveld