While most road racers are enjoying their offseason and posting Instagrams of seaside beach hangouts, quite a few of the top riders managed to put on blazers and button downs and head to the Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift route presentations for the 2024 iterations of both races. Here's what a few of them had to say about this year’s arguably harder-than-ever courses:
Tadej Pogačar: “Full of Promise”
The time trial finisher for the Tour de France is going to be a game changer like we haven’t seen in decades, and riders like Tadej Pogačar are excited—and a little nervous.
“The time trial between Monaco and Nice is super interesting, I’m really looking forward to it,” he told L'Equipe. “But you will have to arrive at this final stage with good legs to win. Spending the Tour on roads where I train most of the year will be special. Just seeing the profiles, this end of the journey makes me smile. It really is full of promise.”
Demi Vollering: “Dreams Can Come True”
In an Instagram post from the 2023 Tour de France Femmes winner, Vollering noted that she’s excited with the Netherlands start, since it’s near her hometown. “We also ride from Valkenburg to Liège, covering many roads where we already made special memories. Liège-Bastoigne-Liège is also the race closest to my heart and it will be very special to race on the finale parcours of this race,” she added.
But the big moment for her will be the Alpe d’Huez climb. “As a little girl, I dreamed of racing on the Alp d’Huez,” she says. “So far I haven’t been there yet and we haven’t raced there yet. But this will change and dreams can come true!” (Sniffle.)
Jonas Vingegaard: “Super Hard”
“I’m really excited about it. It looks super hard, at least the third week looks super hard,” this year's winner Vingegaard told the BBC. “The climbs, certainly the high-altitude ones, look harder.” (We know altitude training was common for the men and women this year, but this year might make it practically mandatory!)
He told Sporza that the route was an 8 out of 10 for difficulty.
Juliet LaBous: “Familiar Roads”
Last year’s fifth place finisher Juliet LaBous says that she’s looking forward to riding close to home. On Instagram, she wrote, “Already looking forward to preparing for this great event which will take place on many roads that are dear to me.” (Translated)
Mark Cavendish: “Shocked”
Sprinter GOAT Cavendish told the BBC that putting off his retirement to race one more Tour is going to be tough. “Honestly, I’m shocked at how hard this Tour de France is,” he said. He also gave it a thumbs up at the presentation:
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