Van Vleuten comfortably holds off chasers in Marseille
Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) took victory on stage two of La Course, comfortably hold off a concerted chase by Lizzie Deignan and Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans), and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5).
After winning stage one of La Course up the Col d’Izoard, Van Vleuten rolled off the start ramp with a 43-second lead over Lizzie Deignan, and 1-23 over Elisa Longo Borghini, the first woman across the line being declared the overall winner.
With that advantage Van Vleuten set off hard right from the start, while Deignan opted to take it easy for the opening kilometres and wait for other riders to catch her and collaborate in the chase.
The British road champion waited for Longo Borghini and team-mate Megan Guarnier before the trio began to get their heads down and work together to try and reel in Van Vleuten, who had opened a gap of 1-40 to the chasers.
Longo Borghini and the two Boels Dolmans riders worked well together for the first half of the course, but Van Vleuten looked incredibly strong, holding here lead steady as she approached the only climb on the course with 7.5km remaining.
Having shown that she was the best climber on the race on stage one, Van Vleuten continued to look strong on the climb to Notre-Dame de la Garde as the group behind fractured, Guarnier struggling as Longo Borghini pushed the pace on the steep ascent.
Her lead still at more than 1-30 by the top of the climb, there was going to be no catching Van Vleuten, who could afford to enjoy the last couple of kilometres, crossing the line in the Stade Velodrome to take a comfortable victory.
La Course by Le Tour de France 2017, stage two: Marseille to Marseille, 22.5km (ITT)
1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica-Scott, in 32-52
2. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, at 1-52
3. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Ita) Wiggle-High5, at 1-52
4. Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels-Dolmans, at 3-00
5. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 3-26
6. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ, at 3-48
7. Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco, at 3-52
8. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Energie, at 4-35
9. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo-Bigla, at 4-35
10. Ana Cristina Sanabria Sanchez (Col) Servetto, at 4-46