TdFF daily stage 5: a chaotic day in the bunch

Team misses out on the break but keeps Veronica safe

July 27, 2023

The profile of stage five may not have looked particularly menacing, but that’s exactly what made it such a hard day.

With the day’s three categorized climbs coming in quick succession in the second half the stage and the peloton now happy to let a bigger group go up the road, today’s Tour de France Femmes stage got off to an aggressive and chaotic start. Every team wanted to be in the break but that’s not the way the race unfolded. As soon as the flag dropped, the attacks were relentless. The group’s composition changed from one moment to the next so quickly that the race wasn’t able to relay to the teams who had escaped up the road; our squad unfortunately missed out on the day’s break.

In a situation like this, the next plan was to keep Veronica protected for as long as possible and to help her get in the group of overall race favorites for the finale. When the break was caught with 50 kilometers to go, the American made sure to be at the front of the race no matter what it took. As the peloton shed riders, Veronica hung tough and finished safely with the bunch, ceding no time on the general classification. She remains in 15th place, just over two minutes behind the yellow jersey.

Hear from our riders about today’s stage at the Tour de France Femmes.

Magdeleine Vallieres
It was a hard day today. It started very quick, very fast. Attacks from kilometer zero. And my day was finished quite early. Not the best day we’ve had so far. We were covering moves from kilometer zero but it was just so fast and so hard. I followed a couple of moves but then I completely exploded but I was able to just keep going and going. I didn’t know what was happening in front.

Sara Poidevin
There were a lot of attacks and the group was really strung out, basically just broken in pieces. There was a break established of about 11 riders and we weren’t represented in that group. We had to figure out what the tactic should be because we weren’t the only team that missed out on this break. We put two of us in the chase for a little while and once we hit more of the climbs, it was really just a race of attrition. Veronica was in that front group where the winning move was made so she finished with the major GC contenders.

Once my job was over, I rode in with Kathrin. We were in a small group for a little while before we got caught by the group from behind and then we could just enjoy all the crowds and the fans on the climbs. Once we were done with our suffering for the day we could enjoy it at least a little bit and also take in the views of Albi from the bridge at the end.

Daniel Foder, sport director
It was a quieter day for the team but I think it was a hard day for racing. It seems like the mentality of the peloton had changed; it was different today. Now everybody wants to race which is exciting. For us, in the end it was a bit of a selection in the back so we had Veronica in the group of about 30 riders. It’s super difficult for her to do anything alone in a group like that so I think that is fine. Of course, it could have been a good opportunity if Letizia could have survived to stay in a group like that. That is what we hoped she would be able to do but the stage turned out differently. I think it’s positive for us because it seems like the mentality has changed. That will create some chaos which we need to rely on in order to get something out of tomorrow.

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