UCI Women's WorldTour
Frenchwoman top Movistar Team performer as race splits into final lap of Nice circuit; Deignan (TFS) wins by the shortest of margins into six-rider sprint.
/ Today’s route
A shorter route than usually seen in the big classics of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, Saturday’s seventh edition of La Course presented a 96km parcours over two laps of a circuit around the Côte de Rimiez (nearly 6km at 5%). Despite that climb being combined with some short, difficult slopes towards Aspremont right afterwards, the 30km descent and subsequent flat from the top made it ideal for the sprinters and their teams – or so it seemed!
/ Weather report
Not-so-warm temperatures in this late summer race, the peloton going around Nice with 23ºC and some mild winds from the northeast. The clouds did, though, drop some rain in the Aspremont area, more importantly over its descent, during the first of two laps.
/ Keys to the race
- The sustained pace through the first climb to Rimiez and the rain into the descent made the bunch splitting from afar. About 30 riders, with Aude Biannic and Paula Patiño from the Movistar Team included, kept the pace behind a top-class, early six-woman break, with Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ), Longo Borghini (TFS), Kopecky (LTS), Niewiadoma (CSR), Majerus (DLT) and Henderson (SUN). Barbara Guarischi eventually joined her two team-mates into the flat roads back to Nice.
- On lap two, and once the break was caught, came the decisive attack: two accelerations from Van Vleuten (MTS) which tore the bunch into pieces and left her at the front alongside Deignan, Longo Borghini (TFS), Vollering (PHV), Niewiadoma (CSR) and Marianne Vos (CCC). Just over a minute behind, Biannic stayed with a pursuit group where Valcar and FDJ did their best to bridge back, to no avail.
- At Nice’s finish, Deignan surprised Vos at a tightly-contested sprint, with Vollering in third place. In turn, Aude Biannic finished 16th inside the main bunch, nearly two minutes after the six leaders.
/ Upcoming goals
The women’s Movistar Team will be back into racing, again in France, with one of the most demanding races of the whole season: the Tour de l’Ardèche (UCI 2.1; Thursday 3rd – Wednesday 9th September). Those Blues not racing there will be lining up, starting on Friday 11th, at the Giro Rosa, the WorldTour peloton’s longest stagerace.
Cover picture (c): Velofocus