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Tour de France Femmes

Words of Winder: GC riders of a feather stick together

Winder reflects on the GC riders during stage 3 of the Tour de France Femmes: 'all the climbers like ducklings in a row.'

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Throughout the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, retired professional cyclist and former U.S. national champion Ruth Winder will be offering commentary and analysis to VeloNews readers.

On Tuesday, watching all the GC riders feeling fresh and eager following each other to the front of the group near the QOM at about 50km to go made me giggle.

I love that similar riders all group together, it’s so cute. They ride through the peloton, keeping eyes on each other. Mavi Garcia, Annemiek van Vleuten, Elisa Longo Borghini, Liane Lippert, Marianne Vos, Kasia Niewiadoma and others all across the road, just keeping tabs on each other.

It’s almost like they’re all there saying, “look it’s a hill, we can all go up hills well!”

But, I also can tell you no one had any intention of actually doing anything yet. It was too soon. These are what fresh minds and legs ride like.

Read also: Words of Winder: To all the new people tuning in to the Tour de France Femmes, welcome

At the QOM at 45km to go it happened again.

They are all there watching, waiting, looking. Who’s going to try, who’s going to go for it and start it off? You can see Mavi Garcia, impatient, thinking “Now?! No … no … I will behave and sit back down. BUT I FEEL SO GOOD NOW IS THE TIME TO GO … No, no. Sit. Wait.”

But she’s right there when Ellen van Dijk bridges over to the two — Elise Chabbey and Femke Gerritse who have been going for the polka dots.

Garcia is ready to race. But so are all the other hitters! My favorite camera angle of the day was over the QOM, seeing all the climbers like ducklings in a row eagerly following each other, eagerly ready to go, but also not ready to start kicking it off yet. They are all there almost in an excited, ready vibe, hopeful that maybe someone else might make a move.

The racing starts to get good after time, after enough hopefuls have taken a shot and all the very important domestiques have exhausted themselves. Only then are the prized protected riders left with nowhere to hide, and it’s time to go.