The 2023 men’s Tour de France kicks off on July 1st, and, this year, the flag will drop in Bilbao, Spain. The first two stages take place in the Basque country, showcasing the beautiful backdrop of San Sebastian for the famous Grand Départ. Who will be among the teams rolling out in Bilbao?
As always the 22 Tour de France men’s teams are made up of 18 World Teams, the two top squads from 2022 (Lotto Dstny and TotalEnergies) and two invited “wildcard” teams.
This year, the wildcards are the first-time entrants Uno-X from Norway and Israel’s relegated Israel-Premier Tech. The rest are made up of French, Belgian, American, Dutch, Spanish, Kazakhstani, German, British, Bahraini, Australian and United Arab Emirates teams. So you’ll see EF Education First-EasyPost, Ineos-Grenadier, Arkéa-Samsic and Lidl-Trek, amongst others, competing for a share of the 2.3 million euro prize pot.
Spare a thought for Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi, the relegated Basque squad who didn’t make wildcard and are missing out on racing their home turf.
The Tour de France is owned and organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), a French media company. But the teams are chosen according to the points and ranking system of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale). However, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. Financial backing to the tune of several million euros is needed to pay the ASO membership fee and have the budget to buy equipment and all the support needed to compete at this prestigious event.
You could be forgiven for not realising there is a women’s race as the lion’s (lioness’s?) share of the media coverage and conversation goes to the men’s event, shockingly even in 2023. And you’d have been right until recently as there hadn’t been a womens’ Tour de France for 33 years, until ASO gave in to pressure and held one in 2022.
The women’s event, called the Tour de Femmes avec Zwift, which has officially partnered with SUEZ, a sustainable water management company in France, takes place over 8 stages and 956 km, incorporating a 17km, 7.3% climb up Col du Tourmalet in the seventh stage. The Tour de France Femmes has all the same winner jersey classifications but a prize pot of only €250,000. It starts on 23rd July, the day the other Tour de France race ends.
Last year, the women’s Tour was won by the Spanish team Movistar and the winning rider was Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten. As with the men’s event, the competing teams are chosen mostly by the UCI points system so you’ll see teams like Uno-X Pro, Trek-Segafredo, FDJ-Suez, EF Education-Tibco-SVB and SD Worx. For the women’s selection all 15 WorldTeams were invited automatically, plus 7 Continental Teams – the best two of which were included automatically (Ceratizit–WNT Pro Cycling and Lifeplus Wahoo) with the other five chosen by ASO.
With 22 hours of TV coverage in France, 20 million viewers in France alone, and even a Tweet by America’s First Lady, Jill Biden in its inaugural year in 2022, the women’s event is hopefully, finally, on its way to reaching the same global status as the other race.
A great way to support your favourite teams (and the existence of the women’s event in itself) is with ex-pro team kit from our shop and a photo for the socials with the hashtag #TDFF2023 for the women’s, or #TDF2023 for the men's (and #procyclingoutlet if you want to give us a shoutout too!).