- Marianne Vos won La Course, the one-day women’s counterpart to the Tour de France, on Friday.
- The victory comes after Vos won four stages at the Giro Rosa last week.
- It’s her biggest win since she got sidelined in 2015 due to injury and fatigue.
After notching four stage wins at the Giro Rosa last week, Dutch legend Marianne Vos impressed yet again with a victory at La Course on Friday.
The three-time world champion had been a favorite to win the women’s one-day counterpart to the Tour de France, and she delivered in emphatic style. No one could match her speed when the 32-year-old launched a furious attack on the final climb, giving herself plenty of time to celebrate as she crossed the line for her second La Course title.
More than 120 women went to the start line in Pau, where Tour de France riders would later set off for Stage 13’s individual time trial. Unlike last year’s summit finish on La Colombière, La Course 2019 unfolded on a hilly circuit around the southwestern French city, which sits at the base of the Pyrenees.
The winding roads and challenging terrain made for a dynamic day of racing, and the finishing climb included a stinging 17 percent gradient.
On the opening lap, an 11-woman breakaway formed and included two riders from Mitchelton–Scott, the team of defending champion (and two-time Giro Rosa winner) Annemiek van Vleuten. Not known for her sprint, van Vleuten knew she had to tire out her rivals and attack well ahead of the finish in order to win. Sending her teammates up the road in the break would keep speeds high and force other teams to chase early.
But the main field never gave the breakaway much room. Midway through the race, it remained just under two minutes up the road.
With 47K to go, van Vleuten made her move on the Côte de Gelos and rode straight through the leading group. She played a double game: If she could stay away solo, she had a chance at the win. Simultaneously, she provided a set-up for her versatile teammate Amanda Spratt, third at the Giro Rosa this year, to join a counterattack.
Behind van Vleuten, a series of counterattacks came from the main field and a group of five riders, including Spratt, soon formed at the front of the race. Team Sunweb slid two riders into the breakaway: potential winner Lucinda Brand and eventual podium finisher Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Vos’s teammate on CCC–Liv, was also there.
On the final lap, Spratt attacked the breakaway and soon rode alone at the front. With 15K left, she raced 30 seconds ahead of the hard-charging main field. Vos and Brand attacked on the final trip up the Côte de Gelos, but van Vleuten quickly shut them down. As the kilometers ticked away, Spratt held on, but her advantage began to drop. When she rode under the red kite that marks the final kilometer, she had only a handful of seconds. An attack from behind seemed inevitable.
The explosive, race-winning move from Vos came at 400 meters to go. Spratt looked to stand still as Vos flew past her, unleashing a turn of speed to which no one could respond. Vos even had time to pull off her sunglasses, throw her arms in the air, and celebrate her victory. Sunweb’s Leah Kirchmann finished second, followed by Ludwig from Bigla in third.
The win marks an incredible comeback for Vos, who spent the 2015 season sidelined due to injury and fatigue. She began a slow return the following year, uncertain if she would make it back. Gradually her fitness recovered, and Vos fought back to the top level—right as women’s cycling was growing increasingly competitive.
This year, Vos is riding as well as ever. She opened the season with a Women’s World Tour victory at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, then won the overall at the Tour of Yorkshire in May. Her four stage wins at the Giro Rosa showed that her blinding finishing speed has fianlly returned.
After winning La Course in commanding style, Vos now sits in the catbird seat ahead of the Road World Championship race in the U.K. in September. With its uphill finish, this year’s course has Marianne Vos written all over it.
You Might Also Like