Australian rider Chloe Hosking (Wiggle High5) has won the 2016 La Course by LeTour de France after outsprinting Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo Bigla) and RaboLiv rider, Marianne Vos.
The 25 year-old cited her success to the work of her small team of four riders, stating: “My team were incredible. We never gave up and they protected me and put me in position. I’m so lucky.”
Now in its third year, La Course, which forms the 12th round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, began with 21 teams taking on 13 laps of a 6.85km (89km total) circuit at the iconic Champs Élysées in Paris.
The first half of the race saw the bunch opting to stay together, despite a few punctures caused by the cobblestones, however a breakaway soon formed, featuring Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv), Chantal Blaak (Boels-Doelmans), Hannah Blake (Canyon-SRAM) and Olga Zabelinskaya (BePink). With their lead of only eight seconds, the first breakaway was soon caught by the peloton at the 48km mark.
Other riders such as Team Tibco’s, Kathrin Hammes attempted a breakaway, however they were soon reeled back into the peloton.
A big crash at the end of the penultimate lap took out a number of riders including one of the outside favorites; Canyon-SRAM rider Barbara Guarischi with a broken elbow, while Fanny Riberot (Astana) also crashed out of the race.
With just 3.7km to go an accidental touch of wheels caused another big crash, this time affecting the middle of the peloton and giving race leaders Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv), Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5) and Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB) a chance to hold onto their 10 second gap.
Around 30 of the 121 riders were part of the peloton in the final two kilometers when four time world champion, Dutch time trialist, Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) attacked.
However it was a sprinter’s race, with Hosking launching her sprint early (300m from the line) to take the win by several bike-lengths.
“I was kind of waiting for [the riders] to come around me because I started my sprint so early… but they didn’t. This is the highlight of my career”, Hosking said following the race.
Multiple world champion and 2014 La Course winner Marianne Vos was hot favorite to win the race, managing to stay out of trouble throughout and crossing the finish line in third, while reigning UCI Women’s Road Cycling World Cup winner, Lizzie Armistead decided not to compete for fear of injury less than three weeks from the Rio Olympics.
The next Women’s WorldTour race is the Prudential Ride London Classique on July 30.
La Course 2016 results:
1st: Chloe Hosking (Aus); Wiggle-High5
2nd: Lotta Lepisto (Fin); Cervelo Bigla
3rd: Marianne Vos (Ned); RaboLiv
4th: Joëlle Numainville (Can); Cervelo Bigla
5th: Roxane Fournier (Fra); Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope