Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig: FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope racing with ‘nothing to lose’ at Tour de France Femmes

Uttrup Ludwig praises team for comeback after difficult opening stages as Evita Muzic takes second on gravel stage.

Photo: Tim de Waele / Getty Images

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BAR-SUR-AUBE, France (VN) — FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope is racing with “nothing to lose” at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift after a rollercoaster opener to the race, according to Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.

The team’s GC ambitions and morale took a major hit on stage 2 when more than half its team crashed, and Marta Cavalli was forced to abandon.

Uttrup Ludwig helped the team to bounce back in dramatic fashion with a win on stage 3 and the team was at the forefront again during Wednesday’s gravel stage with Evita Muzic racing to second place after jumping into a late chase move.

“So good, that’s why we are so happy,” Uttrup Ludwig said when asked how it had felt to come back from the lows of the second day. “That’s why we are walking around and listening to music, because we have nothing to lose, and we are just having fun every day. I think it really also connected us. I think it’s pretty cool.”

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Things nearly went awry for Uttrup Ludwig again on stage 4 when she punctured on the third gravel sector with 35 kilometers remaining. Her teammates were quick to stop and provide mechanical assistance while also flagging down the team car through the dust that was being kicked up from the other vehicles passing through.

Fortunately, Uttrup Ludwig was able to get back onto the bunch and finished with the main group of favorites at 1:40 behind the stage winner Marlen Reusser.

“This team has been such a unit and I think it’s just so amazing after stage 2 where we just kind of wanted to go home, or at least forget the day,” Uttrup Ludwig said. “Evita getting second, it’s quite amazing. Also, when I had the puncture on gravel sector 3, Vittoria and Marie were just so quick spotting it, stopping with me, changing the wheel, and getting me back. How good was that? It was like writing a good book.

“When I came to what I thought was the front group, it had actually split into two groups. Evita was there and she said ‘get on my wheel, Cecilie!’ It was such an amazing team performance, and it was just amazing how we worked together and how we fight every single day.”

Uttrup Ludwig moved up a spot in the overall classification, following a difficult day for Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ). The Dane is currently sitting in ninth place with a 1:48 deficit to the yellow jersey Marianne Vos.

Her GC ambitions took a hit with her crash on stage 2, but she’s still looking forward to the fight back and having a go at the mountain stages on the final weekend. She and the rest of the peloton will be returning to the gravel for the final meters of the Tour de France Femmes with the showdown on the Super Planche des Belles Filles on Sunday.

“That will be fun, that will be epic actually. What way to finish the Tour, I hope there will be a lot of spectators,” she said. “It has been amazing how many spectators there have been out on the course and at the start. The Tour is just different, the Tour is the Tour. It’s just a big circus, but it’s fun to be a part of.”

Muzic to FDJ’s ears

Muzic was one of the many FDJ fallers on day two of the Tour de France Femmes, crashing in the final kilometers of the stage. The 23-year-old Frenchwoman had only returned to the peloton following a mechanical problem, after pacing back with a dropped Annemiek van Vleuten, when she saw Alena Amialiusik jump out of the bunch to chase down a solo Reusser.

“It was hard, and we could see some girls who had punctures. I also had a mechanical problem on the last gravel sector, and I managed to come back with Annemiek,” she said. “After, I saw Amialiusik in front, so directly when I came back, I thought I can go, and we can see. I was with Amialiusik and then Veronica Ewers came back, and I could see that Ewers wanted to gain time for the GC so she just rode and didn’t care for the podium of the stage so I played with this.

“I would like to do the same as [Cecilie], but Marlen was so strong at the front, so we tried to keep going, but it was hard and I’m happy with this podium.”

Like Uttrup Ludwig, Muzic is defiant in the face of the team’s earlier disappointments and believes the team will keep pushing for more over the second half of the race.

“I’m really happy to take this podium for the team after the win of Cecilie yesterday and also after the dark day on the second stage. Now we are ready to fight in every stage. It’s not finished, we have four stages to go and the GC for Cecilie,” she said.

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