Natalie Grinczer hopes to take advantage after late switch to Lifeplus-Wahoo

Natalie Grinczer has taken a difficult road to get to the start line of her second Tour de France Femmes.

At the start of this month the 29-year-old Brit was worried she would not see out the season after French team Stade Rochelais ran into financial problems and she was left scrambling for a new employer.

Trying to find a contract during one of the busiest periods of the season was far from easy. Grinczer struggled to get answers while teams were focused on the Giro Donne, the Italian Grand Tour, but she has landed on her feet by signing for Lifeplus-Wahoo for the rest of 2023.

And just days after her deal was announced, Grinczer was named in the British team’s seven-strong Tour de France Femmes line-up.

“If you’d asked me two or three weeks ago about the Tour I would have told you no,” Grinczer told the PA news agency. “Having no team and all the stress that comes with that, and now I’m in the Tour…one day I’ll write a book about it.”

Grinczer started the season well, feeling settled in her second year with Stade Rochelais and earning top-10 finishes at the Vuelta Extremadura Feminas, the Grand Prix Feminin de Chambery and the Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar.

But by the time she finished sixth at the British national road race in Saltburn at the end of June, Grinczer was talking to Lifeplus-Wahoo boss Tom Varney about an answer to her problems.

“There was maybe a week and a half of uncertainty where I was putting myself out there, talking to people I knew from previous years and asking if they had any spaces,” she said. “I couldn’t even think about 2024 because my immediate problem was not having any races now.

“I started speaking to Tom after the nationals and he came back to me to say they had a space for the rest of the season so I was really lucky with how it panned out.”

Grinczer balances her career on the bike with her job as an NHS physiotherapist. After doing her last shift on Tuesday, she headed to Clermont-Ferrand on Thursday to prepare for the opening stage of the Tour on Sunday.

Grinczer started the inaugural edition of the revamped race in Stade Rochelais colours 12 months ago, getting a taste for what instantly became the biggest race on the calendar, but it sadly proved short-lived as she crashed out on stage three.

“Everyone came to the Tour in the best shape, with the best equipment and a lot of new kit and everyone went all out for it,” Grinczer said. “On the first day we signed on in front of the Eiffel Tower and went through the famous tunnel on to the Champs-Elysees and it was really cool.

“Unfortunately I crashed along with about 100 other people – I don’t know who didn’t crash in that peloton. It was frustrating. I’ve never been in a race where there seemed to be no etiquette.

“Normally there is a little bit of etiquette in the peloton but everyone was taking increased risks and it was a hostile place to be. Maybe after a couple of days it would have settled down into more of a rhythm but I didn’t experience that. Hopefully this time I’ll get a bit further and find out.”

Grinczer puts that hostility down to the huge importance of the race, which attracts a spotlight unlike any other, and she is prepared for the same again this time.

“It’s a bit of an all or nothing race for the riders,” she said. “You want to do the best you can and if that involves taking risks or riding differently to normal then you do that.”

:: Lifeplus-Wahoo are offering 10,000 UK-based fans free GCN+ passes to watch the Tour de France Femmes, available on a first-come, first-served basis from