Tour de France Femmes: Van Vleuten goes for glory on final stage – live!

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The Tour de Frances Femmes – back in a new format after a 33-year hiatus – has packed in no shortage of drama across the past week. There was the raw speed of the Team DSM sprinter Lorena Wiebes, who won two stages, beginning in Paris last Sunday when she took the yellow jersey with a fearsome sprint finish on the Champs-Élysées.

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Not to mention the unsurpassed race-craft and all-round ability of Jumbo-Visma’s Marianne Vos, who has also won two stages, and who took the yellow jersey for herself until Annemiek van Vleuten’s pièce de résistance for Movistar Team on the first major mountain stage yesterday.

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The emotion of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) after her stunning stage-three victory in Champagne country was another memorable moment, but where does this all leave us? The situation in the classement général going into today’s final stage, after Van Vleuten’s dominance yesterday, is that the Dutchwoman leads second-placed Demi Vollering (SD Worx) by a massive 3min 14secs. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM Racing) sits third overall, 4min 33secs off the pace set by Van Vleuten.

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Can any rider or team hope to overhaul Van Vleuten and Movistar? It appears an impossible task but there is always the prestigious prospect of a stage win atop La Super Planches des Belles Filles. The peloton is off and rolling for stage eight. Allez!

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Key events

100km to go: There are some superb shots in our Tour de France Femmes gallery.

Hats off in particular to Jeff Pachoud of AFP for capturing these wonderful pictures of a French woman and her cat enjoying the action on stage six, somewhere between Saint-Dié-les-Vosges and Rosheim:

An elderly woman waits for cyclists with her cat on her doorstep.
An elderly woman waits for cyclists with her cat on her doorstep. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images
The peloton arrives.
The peloton arrives. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images
Tour de France Femmes stage six.
Tour de France Femmes stage six. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 13.43 BST

106km to go: The average speed so far is a very healthy 41.5km/h. The temperature is 30.3C in the shade, and therefore considerably hotter than that on the road. It’s going to be a hot one for the riders.

108km to go: The peloton is all together after 15km of racing. The significant points along the route are as follows:

Intermediate sprint: Faucogney et la Mer
Cat 2 climb: Côte d’Esmoulières
Cat 1 climb: Ballon d’Alsace
Cat 1 climb (summit finish): La Super Planche des Belles Filles

Preamble

The Tour de Frances Femmes – back in a new format after a 33-year hiatus – has packed in no shortage of drama across the past week. There was the raw speed of the Team DSM sprinter Lorena Wiebes, who won two stages, beginning in Paris last Sunday when she took the yellow jersey with a fearsome sprint finish on the Champs-Élysées.

Not to mention the unsurpassed race-craft and all-round ability of Jumbo-Visma’s Marianne Vos, who has also won two stages, and who took the yellow jersey for herself until Annemiek van Vleuten’s pièce de résistance for Movistar Team on the first major mountain stage yesterday.

The emotion of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) after her stunning stage-three victory in Champagne country was another memorable moment, but where does this all leave us? The situation in the classement général going into today’s final stage, after Van Vleuten’s dominance yesterday, is that the Dutchwoman leads second-placed Demi Vollering (SD Worx) by a massive 3min 14secs. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM Racing) sits third overall, 4min 33secs off the pace set by Van Vleuten.

Can any rider or team hope to overhaul Van Vleuten and Movistar? It appears an impossible task but there is always the prestigious prospect of a stage win atop La Super Planches des Belles Filles. The peloton is off and rolling for stage eight. Allez!

Updated at 13.29 BST

The Guardian