La Course has often been the centre of debate in the professional cycling world.
The women’s one-day race, run by Tour de France organiser ASO, has been through varying incarnations in recent years and often coincides with the men’s event
But ASO has been criticised over the years for failing to offer a true equivalent of the men’s Tour de France, as La Course has never been run over more than two stages and often as a short circuit race.
World champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) has shared her disappointment about the 2020 La Course route, as the race will be held over 96km around Nice.
This year’s edition will be held on the same day as the Tour de France 2020 Grand Départ on August 29, with riders taking on two laps each featuring an ascent of the third category Côte de Rimiez.
However not everyone in the peloton agrees with Van Vleuten’s criticism, as Australian pro Chloe Hosking saying she believes the course will “lend itself to exciting racing.”
Double La Course winner Van Vleuten said: “Just checked the course of this year’s La Course, can’t believe what I saw.
“A 96km ‘race’, only two laps with a third cat climb – not really WorldTour level.”
The 37-year-old has previously been critical of the organisers of La Course for failing to offer inspiring race routes.
Since first behind held in Paris in 2014, La Course has been held across France and offered up some thrilling racing, including Pau in 2019 and the Col d’Izoard in 2017.
But for 2020 the organisers initially opted to take the race back to Paris, prompting Van Vleuten to dismiss the event as a “nothing more than a criterium.”
Due to the upheaval caused by coronavirus, the UCI and ASO have instead moved the race to coincide with the opening stage of the men’s race, which will stretch to 156km starting and finishing in Nice.
But Hosking, who is racing for Rally Cycling Women this year, said: “Personally Annemiek I don’t think it’s that atrocious. It will only be the second WorldTour race back after six months of no racing. For many riders, their first race.
“The course and the distance will lend itself to exciting racing, which is what the peloton and the fans need right now.”
Van Vleuten triumphed in one of the most memorable race finishes ever at the 2018 edition of La Course, chasing down Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) to catch her at the line.
Last year, Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) sprinted to victory on an uphill finish in Pau as Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) was denied the win from a solo breakaway in the final 400m.
ASO will be introducing a historic race this year, as the first ever women’s Paris-Roubaix will be held on October 25.