Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) won the bunch sprint to win the inaugural edition of La Course by Le Tour de France in Paris on Sunday. The World Champion beat fellow Dutch woman, Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) into second place, winning the race she had a part in inspiring and organising.
The win was just reward for Vos’s efforts in creating the event. “This is a dream come true,” Vos said after the finish. “It was fantastic to race here. This was our chance to show that women’s cycling is great to watch.”
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After a quiet start, the race was punctuated by repeated attacks from those teams looking to avoid a bunch sprint. However, it was closely controlled, with Rabo-Liv setting up Vos for the win.
“It went more or less the way we thought,” Rabo-Liv team manager, Koos Moerenhout told Cycling Weekly. “It was hard to make the breakaway, the tempo was really high and every time a group went, everybody looked to us. We were good in the race and put Marianne in a good place for the sprint.”
Lizzie Armitstead, whose team mate and World Time Trial champion, Ellen van Dijk, was off the front for about 15km, crashed under the flamme rouge. The former British Champion spoke to reporters after the race sporting a nasty cut to her elbow.
“I had a bit of bad luck, I dropped my chain twice and had to change my bike,” she said. “In the final I was a little bit out of position but I was on Vos’s wheel so I was not too panicked, then her team mate just put me in the barrier.”
“It’s the elbow and shoulder, really, I’ll be fine, it’s just a nuisance, but I’m 100% sure I’ve not broken anything,” she said, confirming her appearance at the Commonwealth Games.
La Course was created after the creation of Le Tour Entier a group calling for more equality for women’s cycling. One of that group is the British Time Trial champion, Emma Pooley, who told Cycling Weekly: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for women to have a race associated with the Tour de France, and especially considering how quickly ASO got it up and running. They’ve seen the potential of women’s cycling and I think it’s definitely a fantastic first step.”
La Course by Le Tour de France, 89km
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo-Liv
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum
4. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-Lululemon
5. Shelley Olds (USA) Ale Cipollini
6. Coryn Rivera (USA) United Healthcare
7. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
9. Simona Frapporti (Ita) Astana Be Pink
10. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Poitou-Charantes Futuroscope all same time
21. Hannah Barnes (GBr) United Healthcare at same time
24. Sharon Laws (GBr) United Healthcare at 10 secs
84. Emma Pooley (GBr) Lotto-Belisol at 1-16
96. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans at 3-11
We take a look ahead to the inaugural La Course women's elite race in Paris on Sunday, July 27
Co-founder of Le Tour Entier campaign group joins leading British team ahead of inaugural edition of iconic Parisien event.