Team DSM’s Lorena Wiebes, the most prolific sprinter in the women’s peloton, beat Jumbo-Visma’s Marianne Vos to win the opening stage of the relaunched Women’s Tour de France in Paris.

Wiebes, winner of the RideLondon Classique in May, passed Vos in the final 100 meters of the curtain raiser of the women’s race, an 82km stage based on laps of the Champs-Élysées.

“I’m really happy to have finally been able to run on the Champs Élysées,” said Wiebes. “As I expected, it was a tough race. It’s really special to ride here in Paris and even more special to wear the yellow jersey.

Over the next week, the women’s peloton will cover a thousand kilometers in eight stages, heading east towards next weekend’s culminating climbing stages in the Vosges, with an expected outcome next Sunday at the ascent of the Super Planche des Belles Filles, the gravel finish. used in this year’s Men’s Tour.

“It’s really special that the Tour de France is back for women,” said Wiebes. “It’s a very good course. We have it all – sprint stages, hard-hitting stages, climbing stages. I hope we can inspire many young girls to ride a bike.

The Dutchwoman has been untouchable as a sprinter this season, winning race after race, including stages of the British Women’s Tour. “It’s been a goal since the start of the season,” she said of her stage win in Paris.

“The start was quite chaotic. But I stayed [teammate] Pfeiffer’s wheel Georgi and Charlotte Kool were still behind me. Our plan was to swap positions after the tunnel but there was too much chaos and Pfeiffer put me in a perfect position.

Dutch Marianne Vos finished second in the first stage. Photography: Christophe Petit-Tesson/EPA

“I was okay with the pressure, because I directly put the most pressure on myself. We did everything normally and I started to get a little more nervous towards the end, but I finished.

It was an emphatic victory and also, after three weeks of men’s racing, rare to see a rider in Jumbo-Visma colors being beaten. Wiebes admitted she was counting on Vos to start her sprint early. “I expected it and was happy to be able to accelerate to the finish line once again,” she said.

From the Champs-Élysées, the Women’s Tour convoy heads east, with the 134km second stage looping through the eastern suburbs of the French capital, with just one fourth-category climb, before an expected sprint finish in Provence.

This is ideal territory for another Wiebes success, at least on paper. “If today hasn’t taken too much energy, we will also aim for the green jersey,” she said, “but we will put a mad effort into it.”

For now, Wiebes is enjoying the moment and has even painted his nails in the colors of his two most likely jerseys, yellow and green. “I wanted to do something special with my nails. Originally, I wanted her to do all the colors of the [rainbow] swimsuit but my nail artist didn’t have enough time during the day! So we decided to do two colors – the most important colors.

For many in the peloton, this will be the greatest opportunity of their careers, one for which they have made many sacrifices. In fact, Marion Rousse, race director of the Tour de France Women, a former professional, experienced these sacrifices herself.

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    Rousse, who now works for several major races and is also a regular expert in French TV coverage of the Tour, quit racing at 25 to work in the media. “I wore three hats: cyclist, TV lay and I also helped at the town hall of Étampes because my salary as a runner was not enough.

    It is suspected that some riders in this Tour could also endure similar circumstances, unlike their male counterparts. Rousse is well aware of the need for the women’s peloton to seize the opportunity.

    “Women riders have long felt they were not legitimate because they couldn’t take part in the biggest cycling race in France,” she said. “But it’s not a gift we give them, they deserve it.”