DATE: 16 April 2023
LOCATION/DISTANCE: Chambéry, France – 110 km
Pauline Allin Émilie Fortin Greta Richioud Chloé Fourmigué-Villacampa Claire Windsor
The race parcours was a tough and technical circuit of 2 shorter (8 k) laps and 5 larger (18 k) laps, which included most of the smaller 8 k lap. The circuits were characterized by steep, punchy climbs on narrow country lanes, twisting technical descents with prominent speed bumps, and a bonus ‘gravel’ section at the top of the first climb of every lap. The larger lap featured two QOMs.
Émilie rode the race in 2021, when the parcours was similar. Pauline and Greta raced in previous years but the circuit was notably different.
It was predicted that the race would be an attritional race where riders would be going out the back door, and teams like FDJ would aim to make it hard from the beginning.
The team felt that this was a race where it was possible to perform and race to win, with Émilie and Greta as protected riders, Émilie in particular. This was the primary goal for the team. The plan to support this was that Pauline would aim to launch or follow an early break, and that Claire and Chloe would work to support and assist their teammates. It was also agreed that a necessary ingredient for this plan to work would be good communication as a team.
In the days leading up to the race, there was lots of rain in Chambéry. Although it didn’t rain on race day, some of the roads were still damp. The race started fast and riders were immediately being dropped. Cynisca riders started reasonably well and all riders stayed in the main peloton for the first lap. In the second lap, Claire crashed on the gravel descent; she worked hard for several kilometers to get back to the peloton but didn’t succeed.
The race continued to press on and many more riders were being distanced and dropped. By the start of the third lap – the first bigger lap with two QOMs – many more riders had been dropped; the peloton was no more than 30 or 40 riders. Émilie and Pauline were still fighting in the front group. Chloe and Greta had been distanced from the front and were part of chasing groups behind.
By lap five, only Émilie remained in the front group with about 25 riders. Chloe and Pauline were two minutes behind. (Greta had stopped racing by this point). Émilie continued to be in contention in this lead group until the beginning of the final lap, when she crashed on a steep technical decent. Neutral service helped her to get back on her bike and the team car supported her to the finish line; she arrived in 18th position.
The level of variation in rider ability in this race was large. The race was dominated by FDJ and UAE Development, as well as some strong individual performances from Arkea and Top Girl Fasso Bartolo. Nearly all the points available in the sprints and GPMs were taken by these four teams. It was an incredibly tough parcours and the pace of the race was unforgiving.
DNF: Claire, Greta, Chloe.
Only 56 out of 146 riders finished the race within the time limit.
- April 17, 2023