Dutch cyclist Demi Vollering won the women’s Tour de France for the first time after completing the eighth and final stage, a 22.6-kilometre individual time trial in Pau won this weekend by Swiss Marlen Reusser.
Vollering (SD Worx), 26, succeeds her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), who on this occasion was left out of the final podium, surpassed by the Belgian Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) and the Polish Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon).
At 40 years old and in the season of her farewell, Van Vleuten remains in this way without being able to conquer what would have been his second consecutive Vuelta-Giro-Tour triplet.
But Vollering’s triumph cannot be considered a surprise. She adds her fifteenth victory in 2023 and she is number 1 today. In spring she already achieved the triplet of the Ardennes (Walloon Arrow, Liège and Amstel), something that until now only her compatriot Anna van der Breggen had done.
In the streets of Pau, which after the morning rain dried up throughout the day, and under the watchful eye of the French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, Reusser signed the best time, 29 minutes and 15 seconds to cover the 22.6 km of the stage.
Double European champion of the specialty against the clock, the Swiss woman led Vollering by ten seconds, thus sealing her final victory after donning the yellow jersey the day before in the stage that ended with the mythical Tourmalet.
Kopecky, leader of the test for six days and who kept the yellow until Saturday, was third in the stage 38 seconds behind the winner, leading the Australian Grace Brown (FDJ-Suez) by two seconds, a result that served her well. to finish on the final podium.
In the final overall, Vollering led Kopecky by 3 minutes 03 seconds, who finished with the same time as Niewiadoma, although she overtook the Pole by places. Van Vleuten, who did a poor time, 1 minute 41 seconds behind the stage winner, missed out on the podium by just 56 seconds.
“I have a hard time finding the words. I’ll realize maybe a little bit tonight as I celebrate with the team. Because I’m still surprised, especially by the gap to Annemiek (van Vleuten) on Saturday at the Tourmalet. I knew that she had put in a great performance, but I don’t expect such a difference (2 minutes and 24 seconds on Saturday) ”, Vollering confessed.
The victory in the Tour is a relief for Vollering, who thus maintains the current cycling throne unquestionably, although in this Tour she went through difficult moments, such as in the fifth stage, when she was penalized with 20 seconds for riding after the team car.
This sanction, which was accompanied by the expulsion of its sports director, was considered merciful by several of its rivals, since Vollering could have been expelled from the race for an action “that put her life in danger”, according to the director of the Tour Marion Rousse. (D)