Plantur-Pura, the Belgian UCI Women Continental Team and female equivalent of UCI Pro Team Alpecin-Deceuninck, has announced its line-up for the first ever Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. With Belgian national champion Kim de Baat, sprinter Julie de Wilde and multiple Cyclo-Cross World Champion Sanne Cant, the team – founded in 2020 – will be heading with thee Belgians to the Tour de France.
Next to these Belgian ladies, with Christina Schweinberger another national champion within the selection. The Austrian showed her solid shape over the last weeks and crowned herself as Austrian national champion, both in time trial as in the road race. German Laura Sussemilch and Dutch Yara Kastelijn are completing the six-person line-up. Kastelijn is targeting the tough mountain stages. Earlier this year, she finished 9th in The Fleche Wallone and fully shaped the finale of Strade Bianche.
Philip Roodhooft: “First of all, we are proud to line-up and to be able to say we are the only Belgian team with both a men’s and women’s team at the start of the Tour de France. The team was founded in 2020, and already now, we are at the start of the biggest cycling competition in the history of women’s cycling.”
“We are of course very excited and curious, but we see this as an important experience with an eye to the future. But that doesn't take away we are already ambitious; we are targeting a stage win. Of course, this won’t be evident, but there can be no doubt about the fact we want to show us. We are not coming to just complete the bunch.”
Belgian champion Kim de Baat: “The last weeks have been a true rollercoaster. There we are a lot of emotions involved with my Belgian title; I still get goosebumps when I look back on that day. It has changed a lot. It brings pressure and additional attention, before, I was kind of incognito. I immediately dreamed of being at the start of the Tour de France Femmes with my tricolore, but then there was the crash at our training camp.”
“After my injury I did not expect to make it to the Tour, because of my broken ribs and collarbone. However, my rehabilitation went smoother than expected. I have seen the improvement in the last two and a half weeks, and I am back on the bike with a solid training rhythm. Still, there is a bit of pain left, but it’s manageable. I am very grateful for the team which made everything possible for me to recover in the last weeks. To be now at the start of the Tour de France, with my Belgian champion jersey, is a dream which comes true. I am now fully motivated and committed to work hard for the team.”
Julie De Wilde – youngest competitor Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift: “I have the feeling I was able to prepare myself in an optimal way over the last couple of weeks. Especially our last training camp was great, and so is the team atmosphere. I am looking forward to starting this adventure on Sunday. I already got informed several times I will be the youngest competitor, and I feel honored.”
“I try to avoid putting the pressure on myself, but the white jersey is on my find. But we will have to see how it goes in the first stages, before seeing this as a real target. With the team, we are keen to show ourselves. Personally, I hope to be able to get in the mix in the bunch sprints.”
Sanne Cant – Triple World Cyclocross-Champion, 13-times Belgian Champion: “I was already satisfied I was able to compete in some iconic races such as Strade Bianche and Paris-Roubaix, but to be selected for this Tour de France Femmes, is a dream which comes true.”
“I think my shape is good, and it have been developing in a rising trend throughout the season. In the last weeks, we have been able to build a strong foundation for this new adventure. Hopefully, all the pieces of the puzzle can fall into place, and we will be able to show us.”
LINE-UP PLANTUR-PURA / TOUR DE FRANCE FEMMES AVEC ZWIFT