Why the inaugural Tour de France Femmes is such a big deal

The Trek-Segfredo riders talk about the first women's Tour in 33 years

Last held in 1989, the women’s Tour de France is returning.  Finally, more than a one-day race will greet the pro women’s cyclists. The inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will be eight days, and the Champs-Élysées will be the first stage to kick it off rather than being another one-day edition of La Course, a race offered to the women for the past eight years.

Trek-Segafredo will head to Paris with a team that is made up of multiple World, European and National Champions. We are pleased to share quotes from all six riders who will be on the start line  on Sunday July 24 ready to make history again.

Elisa Longo Borghini

I feel excited to be riding the Tour de France Femmes. It’s going to be wonderful to part of the rebirth of a historical race that hasn’t had a place on the women’s calendar for a long time.

I am feeling good ahead of the start of the race on Sunday. I went to Sestriere after the end of the Giro Donne, training at altitude trying to prepare as much as I could because my goal at the Tour is to be in the best shape possible and to try to go for the General Classification.

This was something that I decided to go for together with the team. When you have as good a team as we have, there’s something really nice about having the opportunity to be the leader in this way. It’s really special and I feel privileged to be part of this race.

Elisa Balsamo

I am very excited for the Tour de France Femmes and I really want to enjoy every moment of it from the first stage to the last one. It is going to be an epic race with a lot of people on the roads so, I am really proud to be a part of our team for the race.

Of course, I have some personal goals for the race. The first day will be a very hard one but being on the podium there is a dream for me. I think a lot of stages are very open to different scenarios so I am ready to try for any sprints but also to potentially go in the breakaways and also to give 100 percent to help my teammate, Elisa Longo Borghini, go for the GC.

After the Giro Donne, I went to altitude training where I was trying to find the best balance between rest and training, but I think I did a good job and hopefully my body is as ready for the Tour as my mind. It’s going to be even more special for me because I will be the rainbow jersey in the first edition of this new Tour de France Femmes so it’s amazing for me and I am also very happy about this.

Shirin van Anrooij

I am super excited to race the Tour de France Femmes. It will be the first time I have done such a long stage race so, I am also a little bit nervous especially as the last two days are going to be so hard with so much climbing but, it’s a new challenge and I feel ready for it.

My preparation has been really good and I think I showed that my form is there during Europeans where I surprised myself to win the double. Plus during my last few training rides, I have pushed my best power ever so I am confident that I will start the Tour in good shape. I know everyone on the team is ready and we have a super strong team so I am really looking forward to seeing what we can do together here.

It’s definitely special to be part of the first edition of this new TDF for women. It wasn’t initially on my schedule this year then after the Classics, where I rode a lot better than expected, the team added me to the roster, and I was super happy about it. It’s surreal that it’s starting so soon now but I am looking forward to it.

Overall, I just hope that I can really be there for Elisa Longo Borghini and Elisa Balsamo. I want to help them fight for wins and for the GC as much as possible and to try to support the team in the best way I can.

Ellen van Dijk

I am definitely looking forward to this race because I think it’s going to be a great celebration of women’s cycling. I am excited to be part of that and to be part of the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes. It’s not officially the first one but it’s a revival of the race and it’s good for it to be back on our calendar.

I feel good coming into the race, and I have had good preparation. I felt a little bit off after Nationals, but Baloise Ladies Tour showed me that my strength and shape is back and that’s why I am looking forward to the race.

I want to race very well here. It’s not necessarily been one of my biggest goals of the season, it’s a bit of a shame for me that there’s no time trial, but there are a lot of nice other stages and opportunities so, it will be fun. I will also be ready to give everything to help my teammates and to work to achieve our collective goals.

I think it’s super cool that our team has a really strong team for the race, we have new kit, new bikes and everything is special for this race just like the race itself. Of course, that can also be a bit nerve-racking and with the whole peloton hyped up about the race, I think there could be a lot of chaos in the beginning.

I am going to treat it just like another bike race and perhaps I am more down to earth with it. It’s going to be a great bike race but it’s just one out of all the others. If we do what we always do, work hard and work well together, I am sure we will make something nice out of it.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot

I am really looking forward to the start of the Tour de France Femmes, I’m excited for the wait to be over. To stop talking about it but to actually start racing. It’s a strange feeling to be so close to the start of the Tour de France Femmes and I think it will only feel real when we get to Sunday, that’s when it will all click.

For me, the goal was to take the start of the Tour de France as French national champion and I have already achieved that. It’s something I can tick off my bucket list and I am really ready to enjoy this experience. I can’t say that I feel pressure because of it, I think it’s more that I might be the one enjoying the crowds most. Racing on the biggest stage, in my home country, in the red, white and blue jersey. It will be really special, and it motivates me to be there for my team and give my 100 percent.

Of course, I also dream about a stage win, but first and foremost, I will be working for the team. I hope the team can do well, wear the yellow jersey, win stages and if I do get a chance, I will try to take it.

I am coming into this race after Baloise Ladies Tour which, for me, was a pretty good week. I was able to have a block of training in mountains after Nationals and then added speed into my legs in Belgium. I think this was what suits me the best and it was good preparation for what’s to come.

Leah Thomas

I feel extremely excited to race in this first edition of the Tour de France Femmes. It is an honor to be able to participate in something that so many have fought so hard for. I am a mix of nervous and excited for this race, but I feel that the team gained a lot of momentum following a successful Giro Donne, and Baloise Ladies Tour, and I look forward to carrying that forward into the Tour.

I am still struggling with a little residual pain from my surgery however, with each race it gets a little better. It’s definitely an ongoing process but I am really looking forward to contributing in any way possible to help the team achieve the best result, and following the Giro, I am confident I can do this work.

I hope to have the legs and health to be able to race aggressively, do the most work possible to keep my teammates fresh, and be able to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself. We have a strong team here, and I hope to slot into a role that leads to the Team’s greatest possible success. These next eight days of racing will be crazy, but it is a privilege to be able to line up with the best women cyclists in the world and take a part in this iconic race.