Fresh from winning the ten-day Giro Rosa, Anna van der Breggen won today’s rain-soaked La Course in Paris.
On the final lap the Dutch Rabo-Liv rider escaped the clutches of the peloton and finished the 89-kilometre race just one second clear. Belgian champion Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-Honda) won the bunch sprint for second place ahead of Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur).
The race was marred by the weather, with rain starting to fall just before the event got under way. After only a few minutes the roads were soaked and slippery, especially on the cobbled Champs Elysées. A number of massive crashes punctuated the race, causing 57 riders to abandon.
After spending the majority of the race well-positioned in the top 20, Britain’s Lucy Martin (Matrix-Fitness) was caught in the last of those crashes, just after the flame rouge. Despite this, the 25-year-old was pleased with her performance when she spoke with Cycling Weekly.
“I like racing on the rain — I can position myself better, I just stay up the front. It’s easy!” she told us. “Christine [Sigaard] and I were going to sort the sprint out on the road. I was right behind her for the sprint, then with one K to go bang, that was it. It’s a shame because I really enjoyed this race. I loved it.”
It has been a tough couple of years for Martin, who helped Lizzie Armitstead to her silver medal at the London Olympics. She has lacked consistent results and last year suffered when her team refused to pay her after the first three months of the season. Today, however, was a return to form,
“I’ve been struggling the last couple of years, but today I felt like my old self. The thing that I’m best at is positioning, being at the front and staying at the front, so when it’s like this it was perfect.”
Crashes may have defined the race, but they did not effect the result. Van der Breggen has had a stellar season, including wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Flèche Wallonne and the overall at the Giro Rosa. Her attack was well timed and she managed to stay clear of a group led by the sprinters’ teams.
“I knew that if you had a chasing peloton behind it is really difficult to hold it until the finish line,” she said afterwards. “It was good for the team also, because the other teams have to chase you, so you go full gas to the finish line.
“It feels really cool, crossing the line and seeing the Arc de Triomphe after a crazy race like this.”
Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) finished fourth. It will be good preparation for next week’s World Cup race in Germany, which she will start as leader of the competition overall.
La Course by Le Tour de France – Result
1 Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)
2 Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-Honda)
3 Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur)
4 Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
5 Lotta Lepistö (Bigla Pro Cycling)
6 Lisa Brennauer (Velocio SRAM)
7 Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
8 Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv)
9 Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products)
10 Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans)