The women return to the Tour de France! La Course by Le Tour de France is on!
Welcome to women racing in the Tour de France again! The women’s peloton will take on the best of the best – 13 laps of the Champs Elysees.
Things will be getting started in just a few minutes.
And they're off!
At least they have better luck with the weather than the guys have had so far -- brilliant sunshine!
They have now circle the Arc de Triomph for the first time.
At 89km, this is a short race, even by the women’s standards.
This race is “a dream come true” for Wiggle Honda manager Rochelle Gilmore. Check out the video interview here.
The following teams are present today: Rabo Liv, Ale Cipollini, Astana BePink, Australia, Bigla, Bizkaia, Boels Doelmans, Estado de Mexico, France, Hitec Products, Lotto Beilsol, Optum, Orica, Netherlands, Poitou-Charantes, Rusvelo, Specialized-LuluLemon, Giant Shimano, United Healthcare, and Wiggle Honda.
The attacks have started, and Chantal Blaak is amongst them.
Who is going to win this one? We have lots of candidates. Like world champion Marianne Vos, who has said she wants it.
Anniemiek Van Vleuten (RaboLiv) is in the lead. We have 10 laps still to go, and the stragglers are starting to fall off the back.
We have a huge pack charging down the cobblestones.
Or how about Jolien d’Hoore (Lotto) or Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) to take the win today?
The bunch is still together.
We now hear there is a break group of eight, including Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo Liv).
Another lap is done, the group has been caught, and the pace slowed slightly.
ON the fifth lap now, and Worrack and Van Vleuten have attacked.
20 seconds for our two leaders.
Kathryn Bertine of Wiggle Honda has fallen off the back so far that being lapped is becoming a possibility.
If it comes down to a sprint, you can’t overlook three-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda). And don’t forget American Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini and Australia’s Chloe Hosking (Hitec).
Elin Van Dijk (Rabo) alone in the front, with 40.2km to go.
Study this course carefully, you will see it again later today when the men go to it. Actually, you may remember it from the last umpteen years as the now-traditional final Tour stage.
Van Dijk has 20 seconds, with two chasers, Roy and Brennauer. The field has just rounded the Arc de Triomph again.
We see a great turnout from the fans today.
A puncture for Jeuland.
Van Dijk is of course with Boels Dolman and not Rabo. Sorry.
The field has now caught the two chasers, and Van Dijk has 23 second as at the start off on yet another lap, with 34 km to go.
The gaps down to 15 seconds, and she will be caught soon. We already have the net attack.
This time it looks to be Chantal Blaak of Specialized-LuluLemon again.
Attacks are coming fast and furious now, let's see if anyone can really get away.
Cyclingnews’ Zeb Woodpower takes a look back the “Australian Pioneers”, the women who rode the women’s Tour de France back in the 1980s.
Things have calmed down a tiny bit now. The field is strung out a long way, but no one is really getting away.
Of course as we write that, more attacks start....
Alena Amialiusik of Astana BePink has jumped to a tiny lead. Looking to emulate Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali, perhaps?
Ad once more around the Arch.
Only 4 laps to go. We are beginning to doubt that anyone will really get away and expect a furious mass sprint.
24 km to go by the way, so three-plus laps.
Two riders dash off the front in chase of one leader...
The leader is from Bigla, but we can#t see her number. Chasers are Van Dijk and a Giant Shimano rider, and they have now caught the leader.
They haven't got a big lead, and in fact they now have no lead at all.
All together as they set off on the third-to-last lap.
Romy Kasper tried to attack, but a puncture put an end to that.
Someone from the Australian national team has attacked. 20km to go. It is Rachel Neylan.
But she too is soon caught.
Two riders with a little gap.
And caught again.
Through the tunnel they go and back out into the bright sunlight.
15 km to go!
Again, two riders with a slight gap, one is from Giant Shimano.
Speaking of Giant-Shimano, how do you fancy Kirsten Wild today? She has 12 wins this season, second only to Vos with 16. And she would surely like to win on the Champs like her teammate Marcel Kittel did last year.
All very unsettled at the moment.
12km remaining from 90km
Right now we have a tightly packed group.
A group of six has tried to get away, with no luck.
Apparently Marta Tagliaferro of the Ale Cipollini team has won the sprint ranking.
Three riders away. We apologise for not bringing you the names.
They never got far away and as you might expect, have been caught again.
They are flying along at 44km/h, with 9 km to go.
One km, and then they start the final lap.
And they are off on the bell lap! Now we expect to see some real action!
The attacks have started, but the field doesn't want to see anyone get away at this point.
Heading up the Arch for the final time today. We have one rider slightly ahead of four.
Now a loose group of 12 or so forward.
Tworiders ahead, Peters and Ferrand Prevot.
4 km and minimal gaps.
Crash, and one rider is very slow getting up, from the Mexican team.
The two up front are still holding on to their lead. 2.9km to go.
The pace is, as you might expect, extremely high. Last time through the tunnel.
Another crash, nearly at the flamme rouge.
ONly 30 or so women in the group thundering to the finish line.
Wild opens the sprint, but Vos jumps and takes the win!
Two big names went down in that final crash, Lizze Armitstead and Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
Third place went to Leah Kirchmann, the Canadian national champion, from Optum.
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank Liv 2:00:40
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
4. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Ale Cipollini
5. Shelley Olds - Evans (USA) Ale Cipollini
That's it! Thanks for joining us, and come back shortly when we have the men's race -- you can expect another bunch sprint then!
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