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Kirsten Frattini

Hard racing, summer heat - Niewiadoma ready for Tour de France Femmes

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) on Planche des Belles Filles at the Tour de France Femmes

Kasia Niewiadoma will line up at the 2023 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift aiming to defend her podium position from last year where she finished third behind overall winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and runner-up Demi Vollering (SD Worx).

Niewiadoma says she remembers the effort it took to secure that podium finish, particularly due to the event's magnitude as the first edition held in 33 years, a whirlwind experience that included lively fanfare and challenging stages. This time around, she is ready for it all and plans to soak it up.

"I'm really looking forward to going on another journey through France, which will surely bring many good memories regardless of the final results. The race is a big goal of mine, and I'm excited and ready to be on the start line in Clermont-Ferrand," Niewiadoma said.

"I want to arrive in France and soak up whatever energy the race, the team and the fans will give me. I know it will be a hard race, busy days and hot weather!"

Canyon-SRAM will send a support team that includes Ricarda Bauernfeind, Elise Chabbey, Soraya Paladin, Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka, Alice Towers and Maike van der Duin, which also gives the team options for stage wins and special jerseys.

"The courses are hard, everyone is in top shape, and the media attention is big, so there will be a battle each day for the stage victory and classifications. Everything can happen right until the last day," said Chabbey, who is one of the team's most opportunistic riders and who regularly in key breakaways and collecting points toward the mountains classification.

Chabbey noted the key stages for her along the 956km route that includes sprint and puncheur stages, along with a grand finale in the Pyrenees with a mountaintop finish on the iconic Tourmalet on stage 7 and a final stage 8 time trial in Pau.

"In particular, I'm looking forward to stage 4 as it's a long and tough day with over 2,300m elevation, all in the second half. Overall, we'll keep fighting for each other to bring the best success to the team. We're mentally prepared for eight super hard days.

"It's the first year in my career that I really have had the time to prepare for an event. I spent a lot of time away from home at altitude, and I feel my shape is good. I believe we can reach the GC podium, and I hope there are opportunities where I can go for a stage win. I'm confident we can achieve a good result when we race without fear."

This spring, Niewiadoma took the top-10s at Strade Bianche, Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold Race, 10th overall at La Vuelta Femenina, third at Itzulia Women, and fourth at Tour de Suisse, indicating her form is on the rise.

She has not raced since mid-June and opted to skip the Giro d'Italia Donne this year, but revealed that she spent most of her training ahead of the Tour de France Femmes in Andorra.

"Last year, I prepared really well together with my coach, so having that good memory definitely makes it easier for us to navigate the training program this year. I've prepared again in Andorra, training hard and recovering harder. I'm only focused on cycling and enjoying it, knowing such an important race is coming," said Niewiadoma, who anticipates another tough edition of the Tour de France Femmes with temperatures expected to soar into the 40-degree heat on the roads.

"After doing the course recon, both GC contenders and riders targeting only stage victories, are going to go all out every day. Every day, there is an opportunity to impact GC, which will be exciting for fans to follow. I'm aiming to be more invisible and less predictable in the peloton. I aim to defend my podium spot on GC and win a stage. As a team, I believe we can achieve a GC podium and team classification like in 2022, and I want that we can add a stage win to our success."

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