"I can’t believe it," van der Breggen said. "We had good plan with the team and Pauline [Ferrand-Prévot] was going for the sprint because she’s from France and this race is important to her. We had a plan that I would attack and that was good because it meant that other teams had to chase me. I managed to to keep it up until the finish.
"We had more options today, of course it was a hectic race and we had to be in front but Pauline was well supported all day if it was going to be a sprint..
"This is one of the biggest races that I’ve won. We’re on the Champs-Élysées with all these people and it’s a great race to ride. We all like it. It was a bit dangerous but it was a beautiful race."
Jolien D'hoore (Wiggle Honda) finished second with Amy Pieters (Team Liv-Plantur) in third on a rain-soaked finish that was full of attacking, exiting racing and crashes. World champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo Liv Woman Cycling Team) was one of the riders who crashed on the final corner of the final lap.
Van Der Breggen attacked with 6km to go and despite a valiant chase from the peloton she was able to hang on and win by one second. Britain’s Lizzie Armistead (Boels Dolmans) finished in fourth place.
How it unfolded
Held in conjunction with the final stage of the Tour de France, the women’s La Course, was once again held along the Champs-Élysées before the men raced onto the circuit to contest the end of stage 21 of the French Grand Tour.
Rabo-Liv’s Marianne Vos wasn’t on the start line to defend her title for the second edition of the one-day circuit race due to a lingering injury, however, there were a number of world-class sprinters and all-rounders ready to take that top step on the podium in Paris.
In contrast to the beautiful, sunny weather of last year’s race, the women lined up under rain on the Champs-Élysées start line. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, gave the official start and sent the women on their way.
The start-finish line was held out front of the Grand and Petit Palais. The peloton raced toward the Arc de Triomphe and around the Place Charles de Gaulle. They headed back down the Champs-Élysées, passing through the start-finish line and toward the Place de la Concorde and Jardins des Tuileries, looped down along the Quai des Tuileries, Avenue du General Lemonnier and up Rue de Rivoli back toward the start-finish line.
The course was challenging because of the slight changes in gradient, with long stretches slightly uphill, and the vibrations from racing over the cobbled sections of the course took a toll on the riders’ legs during the 13 laps, 89km.
Several crashes during the first few laps of the race caused some decisive splits early on but many of the separated riders were able to reunite with the front group. There were also a few small attacks but nothing stuck as riders were trying to get through the slippery road conditions safely. Maura Kinsella (Optum) was one of several riders who slipped out and crashed while the peloton was slowing to turn a corner.
Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) was the first rider to make a strong attack and built an advantage of 17 seconds with 42km to go.
Boels Dolmans amassed at the front of the field with US champion Megan Guarnier and World Cup leader Lizzie Armitstead. Velocio-SRAM also fielded riders closer to the front with Tiffany Cromwell and Lisa Brennauer.
Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) crashed on the cobbled section, which was a blow to her team as she was one of the favourites for a podium position. It was the second time during the race that the American sprinter was caught out because of a crash and forced to chase back up to the main field. Her chase was hampered, however, when her rear derailleur fell off, likely due to the crash, and she was forced to pull off to the side of the road.
A combination of effort from teams Wiggle-Honda, Boels Dolmans, Optum and Hitec Products forced the pace at the front of the field, but it was the effort of van der Breggen, the recent winner of the Giro Rosa, that brought Elvin back into the fold.
Elena Cecchini (Lotto Soudal Ladies) was briefly caught off the back due to a mechanical but managed to chase back on. The Italian road champion was a top contender for the sprint after two podium finishes at the Giro Rosa, and she was recently third overall at the BeNe Ladies Tour.
Just as the Italian reconnected with the field, however, a crash took her down along with Severine Eraud (Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86) with 20km to go.
At the front of the field the aggressive racing continued with Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS), who made a strong attack with just under 20km to go, which was almost immediately countered by her teammate and recent Thüringen Rundfahrt winner Emma Johansson.
Wild, second to Vos last year, was forced to drop off the back of the pack with 10km to go with a mechanical and although she did briefly catch back up, she spent some time dangling off the back of the field with lingering bike problems. She eventually made it back into the field ahead of the last lap, with support from her Hitec Products teammates.
As the peloton received the bell signifying the last lap of the race, Bigla Pro Cycling emerged as the leading team on the road. Rabo-Liv tried to disrupt the pace set by the emerging sprinters' teams, as van der Breggen attacked the field and gained a few seconds.
Boels Dolmans moved to the front to try and bring van der Breggen back, but with no help from the other teams, the strong Dutch rider continued to pick up additional seconds as the kilometres ticked down to the finish line.
Lining up behind Boels Dolmans were Hitec Products, followed by Wiggle-Honda, Velocio-SRAM and Liv Plantur. A crash through the final corner brought done Ferrand-Prévot along with many other riders.
It looked as though the sprinters’ charge would be enough to catch van der Breggen in the final few hundred metres, but they missed out by just one second as van der Breggen crossed the finish line with the victory.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||2:05:01|
|2||Jolien D'hoore (Bel) Wiggle Honda||0:00:01|
|3||Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur|
|4||Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|5||Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Bigla Pro Cycling Team|
|6||Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Velocio - SRAM|
|7||Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica - Ais|
|8||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|9||Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products|
|10||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|11||Roxane Fournier (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86|
|12||Sara Mustonen (Swe) Team Liv-Plantur||0:00:05|
|13||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle Honda|
|14||Joelle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling Team|
|15||Carmen Small (USA) Bigla Pro Cycling Team|
|16||Pascale Jeuland (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86|
|17||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio - SRAM|
|18||Annette Edmondson (Aus) Wiggle Honda||0:00:08|
|19||Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda|
|20||Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana|
|21||Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana|
|22||Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|23||Christina Siggaard (Den) Matrix Fitness|
|24||Coryn Rivera (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team|
|25||Kelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo|
|26||Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ale Cipollini||0:00:16|
|27||Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur||0:00:20|
|28||Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio - SRAM|
|29||Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Velocio - SRAM|
|30||Fanny Riberot (Fra) Lointek Team||0:00:31|
|31||Iris Sachet (Fra) France|
|32||Amy Cure (Aus) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|33||Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo|
|34||Coralie Demay (Fra)|
|35||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica - Ais||0:00:42|
|36||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica - Ais|
|37||Vera Koedooder (Ned) Bigla Pro Cycling Team||0:00:46|
|38||Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|39||Helen Wyman (GBr) Matrix Fitness||0:00:48|
|40||Mathilde Favre (Fra) France||0:00:51|
|41||Daiva Tuslaite (Ltu) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi||0:00:54|
|42||Nina Kessler (Ned) Lensworld.eu - Zannata||0:00:56|
|43||Lucy Martin (GBr) Matrix Fitness|
|44||Rushlee Buchanan (NZl) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team|
|45||Loren Rowney (Aus) Velocio - SRAM|
|46||Melissa Hoskins (Aus) Orica - Ais|
|47||Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|48||Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|49||Lizzie Williams (Aus) Orica - Ais|
|50||Katie Hall (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team||0:01:14|
|51||Charlotte Becker (Ger) Hitec Products||0:01:15|
|52||Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products||0:01:16|
|53||Julia Soek (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur||0:01:20|
|54||Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo||0:01:34|
|55||Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi||0:01:58|
|56||Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:02:24|
|57||Hannah Barnes (GBr) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team|
|58||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|59||Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:02:37|
|60||Emilie Aubry (Swi) Bigla Pro Cycling Team||0:03:55|
|61||Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana|
|62||Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec Products||0:03:56|
|OTL||Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|DNF||Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Thea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products|
|DNF||Annie Ewart (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Ariane Horbach (Ger) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Maura Kinsella (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Alison Tetrick (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Brianna Walle (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|DNF||Tayler Wiles (USA) Velocio - SRAM|
|DNF||Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle Honda|
|DNF||Amy Roberts (GBr) Wiggle Honda|
|DNF||Chloe Mcconville (Aus) Orica - Ais|
|DNF||Iris Slappendel (Ned) Bigla Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Lucy Garner (GBr) Team Liv-Plantur|
|DNF||Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team Liv-Plantur|
|DNF||Cari Higgins (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team|
|DNF||Alexis Ryan (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team|
|DNF||Aude Biannic (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86|
|DNF||Charlotte Bravard (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86|
|DNF||Séverine Eraud (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86|
|DNF||Amélie Rivat (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86|
|DNF||Elena Cecchini (Ita) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Isabelle Beckers (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Jessie Daams (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Carlee Taylor (Aus) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|DNF||Fiona Dutriaux (Fra)|
|DNF||Soline Lamboley (Fra) Lointek Team|
|DNF||Shelley Olds (USA) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Malgorzta Jasinska (Pol) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale Cipollini|
|DNF||Nel De Crits (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo|
|DNF||Demmy Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo|
|DNF||Ann-Sofie Duyck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo|
|DNF||Claudia Cretti (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi|
|DNF||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi|
|DNF||Tetiana Riabchenko (Ukr) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi|
|DNF||Anna Trevisi (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi|
|DNF||Kim De Baat (Ned) Lensworld.eu - Zannata|
|DNF||Mariel Borgerink (Ned) Lensworld.eu - Zannata|
|DNF||Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Lensworld.eu - Zannata|
|DNF||Annelies Dom (Bel) Lensworld.eu - Zannata|
|DNF||Kaat Van Der Meulen (Bel) Lensworld.eu - Zannata|
|DNF||Olena Pavlukhina (Aze) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Ursa Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Martina Ritter (Aut) BTC City Ljubljana|
|DNF||Heather Fischer (USA) Matrix Fitness|
|DNF||Kimberley Le Court De Billot (Mri) Matrix Fitness|
|DNF||Melissa Lowther (GBr) Matrix Fitness|
|DNF||Anna Ramirez Bauxel (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango|
|DNF||Olga Dobrynina (Rus) Bizkaia - Durango|
|DNF||Dorleta Eskamendi Gil (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango|
|DNF||Lierni Lekuona Etxebeste (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango|
|DNF||Ainara Sanz (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango|
|DNF||Elena Utrobina (Rus) Bizkaia - Durango|