Preview: Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche

The seven-day stage race in France promises plenty of climbing on fast stages.

The Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche kicks off in southeastern France on September 3. The 2020 edition marks the 18th running of the women’s UCI category 2.1 stage race.

The 2020 Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche course is 844 kilometers long with over 12,000 meters of climbing.

Ardèche normally runs in mid-September, so the coronavirus calendar reshuffle did not have a significant impact on the timing of this year’s edition. However, the rescheduling of the Giro Rosa to begin on September 11 will see many teams saving their elite riders for the Italian race. Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv), the defending champion of the race, will not defend her title. The team is not participating in this year’s edition of the race.

There are strong teams in this year’s event. Canyon-SRAM, Trek-Segafredo and Alé BTC Ljubljana headline the lineup, alongside American team Rally Cycling, Cogeas-Mettler, and Movistar.

This year’s Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche unfolds over seven stages, totaling 844 kilometers and 12,117 meters of climbing through the rural, forested regions of Ardèche, Drôme, Lozère, Vaucluse, and Gard. The dates of the 2020 edition were adjusted slightly to avoid conflict with a stage of the Tour de France in the area.

The Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche was founded after decades of attempts of a women’s Tour de France sputtered out in the late 90s. Since 2003, the stage race has attracted an incredibly international field; last year’s edition saw riders of over 30 nationalities from five continents.

9/3 — Stage 1: Saint-Martin-D’Ardèche – Bourg-Saint-Andéol, (90.30 km, elevation + 1094 m)
9/4 — Stage 2: Saint-Georges-les-Bains – Font D’Urle (135.60 km, elevation + 3410 m)
9/5 — Stage 3: Avignon – Avignon (113.50 km, elevation + 759 m)
9/6 — Stage 4: Meyrueis – Mont Lozère (133.00 km, elevation + 2599 m)
9/7 — Stage 5: The Pont du Gard – Ruoms (134.50 km, elevation + 1638 m)
9/8 — Stage 6: Valréas – Rochemaure (137.90 km, elevation + 1696 m)
9/9 — Stage 7: Savasse – Beauchastel (98.60 km, elevation + 891 m)