Tour de France Femmes - Stage 4

Famous finish in Rodez sets up exciting finale

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) wearing yellow during the 2023 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift

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Tour de France Femmes - Stage 4
Tour de France Femmes - Stage 4
  • Dates 26 Jul
  • Race Length 177 kms
  • Start Cahors
  • Finish Rodez
  • Race Category Elite Women

Stage 4 of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift brings the longest stage of the race on a tough 177km route between Cahors and Rodez. For viewers of the men’s Tour de France, the finish in Rodez will be a familiar sight: it’s a punchy, challenging climb to the line that has become a popular feature in the men’s race.

The opening 80km of stage 3 are almost entirely flat, spare the Col du Craysac at the 14km mark, a 2.3km long effort that averages a 4.8% gradient. This could offer the perfect place for the day’s early breakaway to form, and it may be a particularly big fight to get in that move as this kind of stage could see a small, strong group go all the way.

After that early climb, there’s a long stretch of respite rolling through the Lot valley and largely hugging the river until the race enters the Aveyron département and the climbs start coming thick and fast. There are four climbs packed into the last 40km, all building towards the uncategorised but decisive Côte Saint-Pierre that takes the riders up to the finish. The attacks should start on the preceding climbs, which are fairly long - 6.5km, 4.6km and 2.2km respectively - to try and whittle down the group that enters Rodez, whether that’s composed of the favourites or the remnants of a breakaway.

The Côte Saint-Pierre is a short but steep climb, lasting for only 570m but with an average gradient of 10.1.%. At the top of the official climbing segment, the climbing doesn’t stop - it’s still 2km at 2.6% to get to the line. Whether the winner comes from the breakaway or the bunch, they’ll need to be a strong, punchy climber with a solid sprint to cross the line first. The purest climbers and GC riders will likely be involved in the battle for the win, but even if not, they’ll have to be vigilant to threatening attacks, especially on the climbs in the finale.

Away from the racing, this stage features a special start: from Cahors, the peloton will head out on a loop past the Château de Cayx, to greet the Danish Royal family for whom the château is one of their summer residences.

Grace Brown’s inside view

“I think this is going to be one of the best days,” FDJ-SUEZ’s Grace Brown said about stage 4. “It’s going to be hard, even just with the length of it, but then it just gets harder and harder as you approach the finish. Then the finale, it’s really steep in the first bit of the climb, but then it backs off quite a bit. So if someone goes too early on that steep section, they’ll be reeled in as it flattens off, and then it will be the best climber-sprinter who will win. I think it’s going to be an exciting stage.

“It’s a little bit like the Cauberg. It’s steep and then the last 2km is less than 3% average, so it really backs off. So you have to be patient. Hold on for the steep bit, and then sit in the wheels and sprint.”

Climbs

  • km 14 - Col de Crayssac, 2.3km at 4.8% (cat 4)
  • km 85 - Côte de Saint-Jean-de-Laur, 3km at 4% (cat 4)
  • km 142.5 - Côte de Colombiès, 6.5km at 4.2% (cat 3)
  • km 161 - Côte de Moyrazès, 4.6km at 5.5% (cat 2)
  • km 167 - Côte de Lavernhe, 2.2km at 7.1% (cat 3)
  • km 175 - Côte Saint-Pierre, 570m at 10.1% (not categorised)

We’ll be showing live and on-demand coverage of all eight stages of this year’s Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift from Sunday, July 23 to Sunday, July 30, plus daily expert analysis on The Breakaway. Head over to GCN+ now to check the start times of each broadcast so that you don’t miss out on a moment of the action! As always, territory restrictions will apply.

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Provided by FirstCycling

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