Demi Vollering — Tour de France Femmes

Visualizing success can be a powerful tool. But the burden of wanting to make that view a reality can weigh heavily. At the Tour de France Femmes that internal desire is intensified by external pressure. The media, the fans, the competition — they all looked towards Team SD Worx. Rather than buckle, the riders absorbed that weight of expectation and made it a source of strength. And through the cloud at the top of the Col du Tourmalet emerged the 2023 champion.

“I wanted to win this race, so I put a lot of pressure on myself as well. I think you also need a bit of that pressure to perform in a big race like this” — Demi Vollering.

"During the race I am focused — just like every other race. I know the plan of our team and focus on my job for that day. Before every stage I do 10 or 15 minutes of yoga as soon as I wake up and then on the way to the start I always do some meditation to control my breathing."

“Having so many young fans around the team bus is amazing. I would love to have more time for this at races because we can make their day by giving a signature or taking the time for photos with them. But there is so little time before the race and then to make sure that recovery is good after."

"Before the race we make a food plan — looking at the stages and then seeing the race hour-by-hour. Which hours will be difficult to eat and which hours are maybe easier. If I know this then I know what I want to eat every hour. And to make sure I get those 100 grams of carbs in every hour.”

"Reaching the summit of the Tourmalet felt so good. I can’t describe it so well, but I just hope that everyone can experience this once."

“During the Time Trial I could hear that Anna was getting very excited behind me in the team car. I tried to use her excitement to push everything out of myself that was left.”

Words by Ross Lovell, Photos by Jojo Harper.