When the route of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift was announced, it became clear that the ASO takes the women’s pro peloton very seriously. This is not a token event to entertain the crowd while they wait for the men’s peloton to arrive. It’s a full-on, eight-day event that will cover everything from wind-swept plains, perilous gravel sections, and historic marquee climbs.
This is not the first time there has been a multi-stage Tour de France for women, but it is the first time in over a generation that it has taken on such a demanding parcours. Starting in Paris on the final day of the men’s Tour, it traces its way 1033 kilometers through northeastern France arriving on the final day for a dramatic finish at the top of the Super Planche des Belles Filles.
Factor-sponsored Team Parkhotel Valkenburg has a strong group of established and up-and-coming riders, who have the right mix of qualities to be aggressive in every stage. The current Australian Road Race Champion, Nicole Frain has recently signed with the team, and the Tour de France Femmes will be her first time racing in a Parkhotel Valkenburg jersey. She recently took 9th at the very challenging Internationale LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour, so we should not be surprised to see her national jersey with matching Factor O2 VAM near the front of the race.
Femke Markus has been with the team since 2019 and has already added two victories to her palmarès this year, including an impressive win at the Leiedal Koerse where she won in a three-up sprint. She should be a rider the team can count on to be at the head of affairs especially on days like stage 4 to Bar-sur-Aube, which has a definite classics-style parcours.
Another strong rider with a recent success to her name, Femke Gerritse took 3rd place overall at the LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour. Her result there was underpinned by her strong performances in the hillier stages, of which she’ll find plenty at the Tour de France Femmes.
Mischa Bredewold recently podiumed at the Netherland’s U23 time trial championships, which reinforced the excellent impression she left after taking 6th place in the Bretagne Ladies Tour CERATIZIT this past May. Just 22-years old, Mischa will surely prove to be an asset to the team over the course of the difficult eight stages.
The 22-year old Anne van Rooijen and 23-year old Quinty Schoens round out the roster, bringing both a youthful exuberance and extremely strong cycling legs to help out the team and take their opportunities whenever they pop up.
Factor Bikes have been proud sponsors of Team Parkhotel Valkenburg since 2018. In that time, the team has been successful in mentoring several top-level pros, among them Lorena Wiebes and Demi Vollering, both of whom have gone on to great successes. Team Parkhotel Valkenburg continues its great work developing fresh talent while racing at the top level of the sport, and we are happy to play our role in their success.
At the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, the team will continue to ride the exceptional Factor O2 VAM, which is not only a lightweight climbing bike, but well able to handle the rigors of the gravel that will highlight stage 4, as well as handle the crosswinds that will likely impact the flatter stages in the northeast of the country.
We are thrilled to be a part of this inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift with such a strong group of riders on our bikes. See you in Paris!