If the men’s Tour de France has whetted the appetite for the high mountains, cobbles and the like, the good news is there is still plenty of stage racing to come this month from the roads around France.
The Tour de France Femmes begins on the same day the men’s race ends, with the women starting with what should be a frenetic ride around the Champs-Elysees before heading east towards a final day summit finish at the legendary La Super Planche des Belles Filles.
But what awaits in between? Here’s a stage by stage guide of the inaugural Tour de France Femmes…
Tour de France Femmes
Inside FDJ at TDF Femmes: Uttrup Ludwig soars as new era begins in women’s cycling
04/08/2022 AT 10:48

Stage 1: Paris Eiffel Tower to Paris Champs-Elysees, 81.7km

The women have competed here before, with La Course being staged around the Champs-Elysees in the past. It’s an interesting twist to start the race where the men end, with a sprint finish the most likely outcome unless the weather intervenes.
That being said, could anyone outfox the pack and go for an audacious breakaway? That’s what happened here in 2015 when the treacherous wet conditions allowed Anna van der Bergen to go for a lone break and hold off the closing pack across the line.

Stage 2: Meaux to Provins, 136.4km

Brie, champagne - hang on, the picnic will have to wait. The teams will be charging across the flat on the second stage towards the champagne region, but it might not be a straight forward sprint to the finish.
An early lump in the form of the Cote de Tigeaux needs to be negotiated and is the perfect place for a breakaway to get free, but the sprinters will have plenty of time to regroup on the second longest stage of the race provided there are no cross winds.
Provins, where the stage finishes, has never hosted the Tour de France but has seen a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir go by. The Medieval town is on the UNESCO world heritage list although hosting the peloton may prove to be a higher honour.

Stage 3 - Reims to Epernay, 133km

Stage 3 is officially lumpy, with a breakaway likely to fancy their chances. Starting in Reims, which also played host to the start of Stage 4 for the men in 2019, there’s a 1km short climb early on before the harder gradients get going later on. The 12.2% Cote de Mutigny should bring the race to life - and could well sort out who is wearing yellow for the next few days.
The finish line is in Epernay, and after negotiating the Cote de Mutigny, there is still over 15km of racing to come with a slight uphill finish to boot. It could be a sapping day if the weather is hot - with no let up on the horizon across the next few stages either.

Stage 4 - Troyes to Bar-sur-Aube, 126km

Not one for the faint-hearted. Unpaved roads feature in the fourth stage of the race as the peloton negotiates another serious of shorter hills, which gradually increase in length as the stage wears on.
The pack may well stay together until the halfway stage when the Cote de Celles-sur-Ource could prove the best location for a break to form, with the white chalky roads set to provide a stunning backdrop to what should be an entertaining stage.
Lotte Kopecky won Strade Bianche Donne earlier this season and it is that one day race that may well be in the back of a few rider’s minds as they negotiate the tough route to Bar-sur-Aube - although a flat last couple of kilometres could lead to a finish every bit as thrilling as anything the week has to offer.

Stage 5 - Bar-le-Duc to Saint-Die-des-Vosges, 175km

Over the halfway mark and Stage 5 is both the longest of the race and interestingly, longer than the designated maximum distance for women’s races set by the UCI. It’s a flat stage and one for the sprinters - although there are a few small bumps to contend with en route to Saint-Die-des-Vosges. The men’s race has started there before, with Peter Sagan winning on that day back in 2019 although he had to contend with the nearby Vosges Mountains on his way to victory.
There will no such climbing for the women - that is very much reserved for the next few days. Instead, the sprinters could get one final chance to fight it out in a bunch finish.

Stage 6 - Saint-Die-des-Vosges to Rosheim, 128km

Theoretically the sprinters could stick around to get involved in Stage 6 but something about the route screams breakaway. It’s the last time the climbs have the audacity to be classed as hills rather than mountains, with the Cote de Grendelbruch offering 8% worth of incline for 1.2km before the Cote de Boersch will test the lungs of those in contention in the last 10 kilometres of the day.
The stage finishes in Rosheim, a town renowned for its Romanesque architecture - and sure to provide a picturesque backdrop for the downhill finish. It’s close to the German border but after this, the race heads south to what should be a famous finish.

Stage 7 - Selestat to Le Markstein, 127km

Welcome to the mountains. The peloton will tackle three peaks on the penultimate stage, the misleadingly named Petit Ballon - 9.3km of 8.1% followed by a steep descent. There’s no respite at the bottom, the climbing begins again immediately with the Col du Platzerwasel, 7.1km at 8.3%.
The Col has a short passage around its peak before a lengthy descent and then thankfully comes some respite. The riders will need to gather themselves though - the Grand Ballon is the third and longest climb of the day, with the stage finish after the peak has been breached and a ridge line followed to what should be a grandstand ending.
The Grand Ballon has featured many times in the men’s race - often as an appetiser for the Super Planche des Belles Filles. But for the women, that famous peak comes next…

Stage 8 - Lure to Super Planche des Belles Filles, 123km

The eighth and final stage sees a start from Lure, with a chance for the riders to stretch their legs in the first 45km. But then the climbing starts - a mostly slow and steady slog up the Cote d’Esmoulieres before the Ballon d’Alsace rears its torturous head.
What is left of the peloton after seven days of hard racing will climb for 8.7km at an average of 6.9% before a long, technical descent.
And then comes the big finale, the Super Planche des Belles Filles - an aptly named peak that has already featured in the men’s tour this year.
The women will be climbing its steepest flank for 7km of hard racing before hitting the unpaved final kilometre. The final 100m is thankfully tarmac but at a gradient that will really test who has anything left for a famous summit finish that will crown a first winner of the Tour de France Femmes.
- - -
Stream the Tour de France Femmes live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
Tour de France Femmes
Opinion: Tour de France Femmes is on the map – now let’s keep it there
01/08/2022 AT 21:17
Tour de France Femmes
‘I hope no one replaces her’ - Why Van Vleuten's retirement might be good for cycling
01/08/2022 AT 13:37