Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) announced Tuesday that their women's La Course by Le Tour de France would in fact not be a multi-day event in 2017. Instead, the event will remain a one-day race moved from the criterium-style race on the Champs-Elysees to a road race in the Alps.
"It was very exciting to see the changes to the race for 2017," said Cervelo Bigla climber Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. "It's really great to see that the style of the race becoming more representative of the Tour de France by making it an uphill finish. It's opening the door to showcase the quality of the women's peloton and the climbers in particular."
Next year, in it's fourth edition and second year on the Women's WorldTour, La Course will cover the final 66km of the final mountain stage of the 2017 Tour de France, and finish on the Col d'Izoard, a 10km climb with a gradiant of nine per cent.
The men will race 129km from Briançon and race over the Col de Vars before the Col d'Izoard. The climb via the rocky Casse Déserte valley is 14.1km long at 7.3 per cent but the women will only race the first 10km up to the Casse Déserte.
"The distance unfortunately doesn't reflect the men's race as they're racing over long distances so that to me is a little disappointing," Moolman-Pasio said. "Fleche Wallonne is a great ASO event and takes place over a good distance with a tough finish but maybe the distance of La Course has to do with logistics as the last day of the Tour."
The last three editions of the race have been held in conjunction with the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris. It has also been a sprinter-friendly circuit with Marianne Vos, Anna van der Breggen and Chloe Hosking winning an edition each.
It was initially reported that La Course could expand from its original one-day event along the Champs-Elysees to a multi-day race next year. The move was thought to offset Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen, when the UCI asked organisers to change their dates from July 14-20 to July 12-18 to accommodate La Course's potential expansion.
Although the date changes were a hassle for organisers of Thuringen Rundfahrt, that are celebrating their 30th anniversary next year, the women's peloton would have welcomed a multi-day event held in conjunction with the Tour de France, and many question why an expansion hasn't happened yet.
"I think the women's peloton would still like to see a multistage race in the future,"Moolman-Pasio said. "I'm not saying I would like to see a three-week Tour for women but a women's Tour de France as a multi-day event would be great."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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