La Course started out in 2014 as a circuit race on the Champs Elysées ahead of the arrival of the men's peloton in Paris. This year, organisers ASO sought to expand the event, striking upon an unorthodox two-day format that saw a summit finish on the Col d’Izoard followed by a handicapped time trial in Marseille, both borrowing from the corresponding stages in the men’s race.
The 2018 edition of La Course was unveiled in Paris’ Palais des Congres on Tuesday as the route for the Tour de France was officially revealed by race director Christian Prudhomme. Back to a one-day event, though not back on the Champs Elysées, it will start by Lake Annecy and finish in Le Grand Bornand, taking place on July 17 ahead of the men’s stage.
While the men will cover 159km and four major climbs, the women will cover 118km and the last two of those climbs – the Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière – before the run into Le Grand Bornand.
The route will eschew the Croix de Fry and the much-anticipated Glières – an 11 per cent climb followed by two kilometres of gravel roads – that are found in the first half of the men’s parcours. It will join the men’s route at Bonneville before taking on the Romme (8.8km at 8.9 per cent) and Colombière (7.5km at 8.5 per cent) combination – separated by a short descent – before the 15km downhill run into Le Grand Bornand.
This year’s La Course sparked mixed reaction and debate, with some feeling the multi-day format and move to the mountains and was a step in the right direction, while others bemoaned the short 67km length of the Izoard stage.
New UCI President David Lappartient said on election that he would push ASO to create a ten-day women's Tour de France. That will not happen in time for 2018.