Vollering beats Van Vleuten in their first duel on the 2023 Tour

Although it was an appetizer of what is to come, we did not have to wait too long to see the First face to face between Annemiek van Vleuten and Demi Vollering in this Women’s Tour de France. The result? the runner of the SD Worx hit first. Everything pointed to a technical tie after both measured forces at the last level of the route, but Vollering, displaying his greatest explosiveness, was able to ‘bite’ Van Vleuten for 2 seconds on the finish line. That time, added to the bonus he achieved by entering second, leaves Vollering with 8 seconds ahead of his great rival for the title. It is barely a breath and there is still the Tourmalet, but the first blow of authority is for Demi. The stage went to the hands of Yara Kastelijn, who at the age of 25 finished off a large fugue to launch his professional record in a big way. Lotte Kopecky he retained the yellow jersey.

The fourth day of this French round harbored a curiosity. With 177 km was to be the longest stage of the entire season on the professional women’s road calendar. The route of the World Cup in Glasgow, which is usually the longest day of competition, this year has 154 km. Thus, it would be a day of wear, to say the least. In the first kilometers, ten runners opened up a gap. They were soon joined by four more to establish a large breakout that quickly gained a wide lead. With more than 10 minutes of rental, brokers like Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who was a virtual leader for much of the day, they came to dream of the yellow jersey at the Rodez finish line.

The race took place relatively quietly, but the last 40 kilometers invited a battle: three climbs in a row and not a single flat meter in between. The breakaway advantage was still large, so both Movistar and SD Worx began to throw at the block at the head of the squad. They were eaten in a matter of minutes. On the slopes that led to the Côte de Moyrazès, the penultimate ascent, everything was blown up. The pace was so wild that the peloton broke up into numerous groups. The one of the favourites, commanded by Kopecky, was barely twenty units. And it was precisely the wearer of the yellow jersey who decided to take action on those ramps. Kastelijn was left alone ahead and opted for the lead, so the Belgian attacked to try to safeguard her precious garment. Meanwhile, his partner Vollering, incomprehensibly, accelerated a lot from behind despite the damage that could cause his partner. However, she did not break through, and the subsequent regrouping gave wings to both Kopecky and Kastelijn. The last level remained. And the scene changed…

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That 7.2% average presented by the Côte de Lavernhe throughout its 2.3km it was demanding enough for things to happen. Kopecky ran out of gasoline and Van Vleuten decided to go on the attack. He soon found an answer: Vollering did not let go of his wheel. Close to crowning, the roles were reversed: Demi attacked and made the Movistar woman suffer, who finally reached her level thanks to the invaluable help from Sheyla Gutiérrez, who was there after getting down from the escape. There was regrouping and the duel moved to the final slope, prior to the finish line. This time it was Van Vleuten who took the initiative, but Vollering’s counterattack proved unstoppable. The planned battle between the two at Tourmalet next Saturday may be historic. Fasten seat belts.

Results of the 4th stage of the Women’s Tour de France

1st Yara Kastelijn (Fenix-Deceuninck) – 4h 38:39

2nd Demi Vollering (SD Worx) – at 1:11

4th Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) – 1:13

18th Anne Santesteban (Jayco) – 2:10

Women’s Tour de France Overall

1st Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) – 15h 47′ 25′’

2nd Demi Vollering (SD Worx) – at 43′’

3rd Ashleigh Moolman (Ag Insurance) – 51″

4th Katya Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM) – mt

6th Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) – mt

11th Anne Santesteban (Jayco Alula) – 01′ 52′’

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