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La Course 2019: Marianne Vos proves boss in explosive final

George Smith
19 Jul 2019

Dutch rider strikes late to break Amanda Spratt's heart and takes second La Course victory

Dutch rider Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) flew past solo breakaway rider Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) on the final kick up the Rue Molet to become a two-time winner of La Course.

The 2014 champion comfortably beat out Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla-Pro Cycling) into second and third respectively after Spratt’s solo efforts saw her fall back hard with less than 1km to go.

At the finish, Vos spoke of her delight stating 'I really wanted to do well. It means a lot to me. After 5 years winning now again in a different circuit it’s really nice.'

This year’s La Course by Le Tour de France saw riders tackle 121km of circuit racing around Pau, South-West France, just hours before the men’s individual time trial on the same course.

Since its inception in 2014 following a grassroots campaign for a women’s version of the Tour de France, La Course quickly established itself as one of the most important races in the Women’s World Tour Calendar, with the event taking on several different formats since then.

The undulating course this year leant itself to puncheurs as the biggest names in women’s cycling tackled 5 laps of a 27km circuit that included the Côte des Gelos (1.1 km at 7.8%) and the Côte d’Esquillot (1 km at 7.2%) climbs.

As the race kicked off 11 riders found themselves in the breakaway and established a lead to the peloton than fluctuated around 1 minute 15.

After the gap briefly fell, the riders leading the race managed to increase their lead up to nearly 2 minutes as they hit the half-way mark.

Attacks from Mitchelton-Scott and Movistar split the peloton and closed the gap to the breakaway, with reigning champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) helping set the high pace that reeled them in.

Fresh off the initial breakaway group being caught, five new riders went off the front but were unable to make anything stick as Boels-Dolmans ensured almost everyone was brought together for the final lap of the circuit.

Only Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) stayed out from that break of five, finally being reeled in by a large chasing group on the final kick before the line, after having maintained an almost 30 second lead with only 8km left.

Despite literally sharing the road with the men’s race today, coverage of what is ostensibly a significant event in the elite women’s calendar was remarkably poor - highlighting once again that the sport still has a long way to go before parity is achieved.