Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio followed up her second-overall in the Giro Rosa on Sunday with a strong third-place finish in the La Course on Tuesday.
It was the unstoppable Annemiek van Vleuten who prevailed in a nail-biting finish in this blue riband one-day event, presented by the organisers of the Tour de France to showcase women’s cycling on a day when the men would also be a tackling a mountain or three.
Van Vleuten, who won the Giro Rosa last week, caught Olympic champion Anna van der Bergen 20-odd metres the line. The Mitchelton–Scott leader chased the winner of the Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège for 15 kilometres after being dropped in the final push to the top of the Col de la Colombière, to win La Course for the second time.
This was the 5th edition of La Course. As was the case last year with the col d’Izoard serving as the finish line, this will be a mountain race between Annecy and Le Grand-Bornand. However, this year there will be just one stage. The 112.5 kilometres will be anything but a Sunday morning stroll. The Bluffy, Saint-Jean-de-Sixt, Romme and the Colombière climbs counted for the best climber category, which was won by Sunweb’s Ruth Winder. Leah Thomas (UHC) won the combatively award.
La Course was contested on over a 112km route 78km of which mirrored the men’s stage, which was run the same day, with a grippy finish into Le Grand-Borland. The col de Bluffy (1.5km at 5.5%,), the côte de Saint-Jean-de-Sixt (5.5km at 4.9 %), the Col de Romme (8.8km at 8,9%) and the Colombière (7.5km at 8.5%) made for a brutal route, the coup de grace being the ascent to the finish on Le Grand-Bornand, where La Course by Le Tour de France was decided on a dogged-out 1.5km false flat that sapped legs and minds of all, but one rider.
2018 La Course
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (NLD)
2. Anna van der Breggen (NLD) + 0.01
3. Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) + 1.22
4. Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (DEN) + 1.58
5. Megan Garnier (USA) + 2.19
6. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (POL) s.t.
7. Katrine Halle (USA) + 2.22
8. Amanda Spratt (USA) s.t.
9. Eider Merino (SAP) + 2.24
10. Erica Magnaldi (ITA) s.t.