News Round-up: Alpe d’Huez rumoured for Tour de France Femmes finale

Plus Jumbo-Visma’s name change, Sam Bennett confirms Bora departure, and Little Sugar MTB results

Clock16:08, Monday 16th October 2023
Demi Vollering won the 2023 edition of the Tour de France Femmes when it visited the Col du Tourmalet on the final weekend

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Demi Vollering won the 2023 edition of the Tour de France Femmes when it visited the Col du Tourmalet on the final weekend

Rumours swirl around Tour de France Femmes route

Ahead of the official unveiling of the route next Wednesday, rumours around the route for the third edition of Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift are getting more rampant as many try to predict how the women’s race will look.

ASO have already announced that the first three stages will take place in the Netherlands, but it's unclear how the rest of the race will unfold - a traverse from the Netherlands, through Belgium and into the north of France, perhaps with a return of the Vosges mountains, seems an obvious geographical choice.

However, whispers of a less straightforward route plan cropped up on Monday, with French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré suggesting the possibility of a visit to Alpe d’Huez, one of the most iconic climbs in Tour de France history.

Their reasoning may be slightly tenuous - they found that the hotel in the heart of the Alpe’s ski resort was fully booked for the final weekend of the race - but it’s a finish that could make sense.

Though the Dutch start makes it logistically more difficult, a visit to the Alps would be a logical next step for the women’s Tour de France, after starting with a visit to the Vosges in 2022 and venturing to the Pyrenees in 2023 - the Alps seems to be the next range to tick off for this growing race.

After the Tourmalet climax in 2023, a decisive stage on the Alpe d’Huez would follow suit in terms of prestige and difficulty. The route will be officially confirmed during the presentation in Paris on October 25.

Jumbo-Visma to become Visma-Lease a Bike in 2024

Team Jumbo-Visma are set to become Visma-Lease a Bike in 2024 after securing a replacement for outgoing sponsor Jumbo, according to reports in the Dutch press.

WielerFlits reported on Monday that Lease a Bike - a subsidiary of transport multinational Pon, a Dutch company - will become title sponsors in 2024, whilst existing title sponsors Visma move up a spot to first naming rights.

Lease a Bike has already been a sponsor of the team during this season, and its logo can be seen on the front of the current Jumbo-Visma jersey, but sources have confirmed to WielerFlits that its investment is set to grow next year.

Jumbo, who had previously stated their intention of ending sponsorship of the team at the end of 2024 at the latest, looks set to end their commitment to the team a year early with a new sponsor secured.

Read the full story with more details here.

Sam Bennett confirms departure from Bora-Hansgrohe

Sam Bennett has officially confirmed his long-rumoured departure from Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of the season.

Speaking to Cyclingnews at the Tour of Guangxi, the Irishman confirmed that he had signed a deal away from the German team for 2024. He has spent a total of eight years riding for Bora: first between 2014 and 2019, and most recently a two year stint back at the team after a brief tenure at Deceuninck Quick-Step.

Bennet has had a difficult season. He missed out on Tour de France selection back in early summer, and now, he's ending on a less-than-positive note as he battles illness in Guangxi. In light of that, the 33-year-old pointed to a new start with his new team.

“I think I’m stuck in a rut, so a change is probably what’s needed, and I’m really excited for next season,” he told Cyclingnews.

Whilst Bennett could not officially name his new team, GCN understands that the sprinter is heading to AG2R Citroën on a two-year deal, with a return to the Tour a likely priority.

Read more: Sam Bennett set to join AG2R Citroën

Sebastián Molano wins stage 5 of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi

UAE Team Emirates’ Sebastián Molano took victory on stage 5 of the men’s Tour of Guangxi, timing his kick just right in a long sprint into Guilin.

The Colombian rider came from third position to pass Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), who had opened up the sprint, and Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) in the final hundred metres, beating Kooij into second whilst Tobias Andresen (dsm-firmenich) look third.

After opening up early and sitting on the front for most of the sprint, and having arguably the best lead-out from his Bahrain Victorious team, stage 2 winner Milan had to settle for fourth.

This is Molano’s first win since the Vuelta a España, and also marks four different winners in all four sprint finishes in Guangxi as no one rider has been dominating the fast finishes.

Stage 4 winner Milan Vader (Jumbo-Visma) remains in the red leader’s jersey with one stage remaining.

Head to the full race report to find out more.

Swenson and Batten win the first Little Sugar MTB race as Pidcock flats out

by Logan Jones-Wilkins

Northwest Arkansas saw a stacked field of the world’s top mountain bike racers battle it out at the LifeTime Little Sugar MTB, in which Haley Batten and Keegan Swenson won the elite 100km races. There was a large $65,000 prize purse, equally split between the top five women and top five men finishers, the largest single-day prize purse in US mountain biking.

The course in Arkansas traversed through grinding climbs, rolling descents, and rough and rocky limestone, with views of caves, waterfalls, and ledges on the trails of Bella Vista and Bentonville. The trails around Bentonville have grown in importance and popularity as the Walton family, owners of Walmart, have heavily invested in cycling in the region.

After 40 miles of solo riding, Batten was victorious for the elite women, finishing eleven minutes ahead of her closest competitor. The top three was rounded out by fellow World Cup mountain biker Savilia Blunk and LifeTime Grand Prix overall champion Sofía Gomez Villafañe.

In the elite men’s race, after almost four and a half hours, the race came down to a sprint finish, with Swenson taking the win over South African Matt Beers, and Cole Paton just nineteen seconds back, finishing third. Olympic Gold medalist and pre-race favourite, Tom Pidcock, suffered a flat tire and rolled in for a 25th-place finish.

Filippo Ganna to skip Tour de France in favour of Paris Olympics next summer

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) is set to focus on the Paris Olympics time trial next summer, with a return to the Tour de France therefore unlikely.

Speaking during 'Il Festival dello Sport' in Trento - which hosted the Giro d’Italia route reveal - the Italian confirmed that his home Grand Tour would be his priority rather than the Grande Boucle, allowing him to target an Olympic gold medal instead.

Ganna is a two-time world champion in the time trial, and has won six TTs this year. Next year’s Giro, with over 60km of time trialling, suits his aims well, and seems to be the obvious choice of Grand Tour rather than racing for three weeks straight just before the Paris Olympics.

Other headlines on the site today:

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