La Course: Van der Breggen wins solo on the Champs-Élysées

Rabo-Liv rider holds off sprinters' charge to the finish line

Anna Van Der Breggen (Rabo Liv Woman Cycling Team) claimed La Course by Le Tour de France after holding off the entire chasing pack on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

"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.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team2:05:01 
2Jolien D'hoore (Bel) Wiggle Honda0:00:01 
3Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur  
4Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
5Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
6Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Velocio - SRAM  
7Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica - Ais  
8Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
9Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products  
10Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
11Roxane Fournier (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
12Sara Mustonen (Swe) Team Liv-Plantur0:00:05 
13Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle Honda  
14Joelle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
15Carmen Small (USA) Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
16Pascale Jeuland (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
17Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio - SRAM  
18Annette Edmondson (Aus) Wiggle Honda0:00:08 
19Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda  
20Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana  
21Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana  
22Moniek Tenniglo (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
23Christina Siggaard (Den) Matrix Fitness  
24Coryn Rivera (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
25Kelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo  
26Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ale Cipollini0:00:16 
27Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur0:00:20 
28Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio - SRAM  
29Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Velocio - SRAM  
30Fanny Riberot (Fra) Lointek Team0:00:31 
31Iris Sachet (Fra) France  
32Amy Cure (Aus) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
33Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo  
34Coralie Demay (Fra)  
35Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica - Ais0:00:42 
36Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica - Ais  
37Vera Koedooder (Ned) Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:00:46 
38Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
39Helen Wyman (GBr) Matrix Fitness0:00:48 
40Mathilde Favre (Fra) France0:00:51 
41Daiva Tuslaite (Ltu) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi0:00:54 
42Nina Kessler (Ned) - Zannata0:00:56 
43Lucy Martin (GBr) Matrix Fitness  
44Rushlee Buchanan (NZl) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
45Loren Rowney (Aus) Velocio - SRAM  
46Melissa Hoskins (Aus) Orica - Ais  
47Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
48Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
49Lizzie Williams (Aus) Orica - Ais  
50Katie Hall (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:01:14 
51Charlotte Becker (Ger) Hitec Products0:01:15 
52Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products0:01:16 
53Julia Soek (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur0:01:20 
54Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo0:01:34 
55Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi0:01:58 
56Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team0:02:24 
57Hannah Barnes (GBr) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
58Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
59Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:02:37 
60Emilie Aubry (Swi) Bigla Pro Cycling Team0:03:55 
61Polona Batagelj (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana  
62Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec Products0:03:56 
OTLMegan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
DNFLauren Kitchen (Aus) Hitec Products  
DNFThea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products  
DNFAnnie Ewart (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
DNFAriane Horbach (Ger) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
DNFMaura Kinsella (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
DNFAlison Tetrick (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
DNFBrianna Walle (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
DNFEleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
DNFTayler Wiles (USA) Velocio - SRAM  
DNFEmilia Fahlin (Swe) Wiggle Honda  
DNFAmy Roberts (GBr) Wiggle Honda  
DNFChloe Mcconville (Aus) Orica - Ais  
DNFIris Slappendel (Ned) Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
DNFLucy Garner (GBr) Team Liv-Plantur  
DNFClaudia Häusler (Ger) Team Liv-Plantur  
DNFCari Higgins (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFAlexis Ryan (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFAude Biannic (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFCharlotte Bravard (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFSéverine Eraud (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFAmélie Rivat (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFElena Cecchini (Ita) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFIsabelle Beckers (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFJessie Daams (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFCarlee Taylor (Aus) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFSusanna Zorzi (Ita) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
DNFFiona Dutriaux (Fra)  
DNFSoline Lamboley (Fra) Lointek Team  
DNFShelley Olds (USA) Ale Cipollini  
DNFAnnalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale Cipollini  
DNFArianna Fidanza (Ita) Ale Cipollini  
DNFMalgorzta Jasinska (Pol) Ale Cipollini  
DNFMarta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale Cipollini  
DNFNel De Crits (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo  
DNFDemmy Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo  
DNFAnn-Sofie Duyck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Pro - Duo  
DNFClaudia Cretti (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi  
DNFAlice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi  
DNFTetiana Riabchenko (Ukr) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi  
DNFAnna Trevisi (Ita) INPA Sottoli Giusfredi  
DNFKim De Baat (Ned) - Zannata  
DNFMariel Borgerink (Ned) - Zannata  
DNFSofie De Vuyst (Bel) - Zannata  
DNFAnnelies Dom (Bel) - Zannata  
DNFKaat Van Der Meulen (Bel) - Zannata  
DNFOlena Pavlukhina (Aze) BTC City Ljubljana  
DNFUrsa Pintar (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana  
DNFMartina Ritter (Aut) BTC City Ljubljana  
DNFHeather Fischer (USA) Matrix Fitness  
DNFKimberley Le Court De Billot (Mri) Matrix Fitness  
DNFMelissa Lowther (GBr) Matrix Fitness  
DNFAnna Ramirez Bauxel (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFOlga Dobrynina (Rus) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFDorleta Eskamendi Gil (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFLierni Lekuona Etxebeste (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFAinara Sanz (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFElena Utrobina (Rus) Bizkaia - Durango  

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