To quote Danish cyclist Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope), Monday’s stage of the 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift was “f—ing, s— day.”
That made Tuesday’s victory so much sweeter.
The 26-year-old won the third stage — a hilly, 133-kilometer ride from Reims to Epernay — outlasting the nine other cyclists who made it to the final sprint, including stage two-winner Marianne Vos.
— On Her Turf (@OnHerTurf) July 26, 2022
“Losing Marta (Cavalli) crashing and having to come back… I just loved how the team kept the fighting spirit,” Uttrup Ludwig said in an emotional post-race interview.
“To actually do it and be a Tour de France stage winner? (Wearing) this jersey? It just doesn’t get better.”
Vos, who finished second on Tuesday, maintains her place at the top of the general classification standings with a 16-second margin.
The biggest surprise of stage three was the performance of Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team), the pre-Tour de France favorite who got dropped multiple times. Van Vleuten finished ninth on Tuesday and currently trails in the general ranking by 1 minute, 14 seconds. After the stage, van Vleuten explained that she has been ill for the last 48 hours.
“Two hours exactly after the first stage, I started to feel not good. Could not eat, could not drink. Super tired. All the symptoms apart from fever, otherwise I could not have started. I felt empty,” the two-time Olympic medalist said in a statement provided by Movistar Team.
While van Vleuten said the climbs were especially tough on Tuesday, the 39-year-old noted that she is starting to feel better and was able to eat a “normal breakfast” ahead of stage three. “I’m getting better and better, so I’m happy so far. I can only focus on what I have in control, so I’m now focused on getting better,” she said.
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Also notable on Tuesday was the comeback of Dutch cyclist Demi Vollering (Team SD Work), who — along with Germany’s Liane Lippert — crashed with 14 kilometers remaining. Vollering managed to catch back up with the lead group and only finished eight seconds back.
“The roads are just so slippery. It was almost like I was back on an ice track again,” Vollering said with a bit of a laugh.
She continued: “You can lose it every day. You can win it every day. You cannot fall asleep in the race this year.”
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