Punchy Vos wins on the double

July 19 th 2019 - 14:30

PUNCHY VOS WINS ON THE DOUBLE
 
A year after Annemiek van Vleuten pipped Anna van der Breggen at the last in Le Grand-Bornand, La Course by le Tour delivered another thrilling finish that saw the race get turned on its head metres before the line. Right when Australian Amanda Spratt thought she had it in the bag after a long solo breakaway, she was caught and overtaken by CCC Liv's Marianne Vos with 350 metres to go, at the top of the final wall. The 32-year-old Dutch rider's attack made it look like the rest of the peloton was standing still. The three-time world champion, who had already emerged victorious in 2014, is the winner of the sixth edition of the event, held on the same circuit around Pau as the Tour de France time trial over a distance of 121 kilometres.

Eleven women in the early breakaway
 
121 competitors started the sixth edition of La Course by le Tour on Friday, 19 July, the 100th anniversary of the yellow jersey. An early breakaway formed on the first of five laps of the undulating circuit around Pau, including Alexandra Manly, Sarah Roy (Mitchelton–Scott), Karol-AnnCanuel (Boels–Dolmans), Jeanne Korevaar (CCC Liv), Elise Chabbey, Nikola Noskova (Bigla), Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM Racing), Liane Lippert (Sunweb), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek–Segafredo), Evita Muzic (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Jasper de Vuyst (Parkhotel-Valkenburg). The eleven-woman group's advantage peaked at 1′50″ around the halfway point.
 
Van Vleuten lights the fireworks
 
47 kilometres before the line, two-time winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton–Scott) made the first serious move with a vicious attack on the third ascent of the Côte de Gelos (1.1 km at 7.8%), one of the two climbs on the circuit. The Dutch rider's offensive spelt doom for the escapees, who were caught a kilometre down the road. Attacks came thick and fast at the front of the peloton until a five-woman group managed to open up a gap: Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton–Scott), Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC Liv), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Sunweb), Soraya Paladin (Ale Cipollini) and Lucinda Brand (Sunweb). Spratt, who finished third in the last Giro, was alone at the front with a 15-second margin going into the final lap.
 
Spratt puts on a show
 
The gap increased after the last ascent of the Côte de Gelos, reaching 30″ with 15 kilometres to go, when Lucinda Brand and big favourite Marianne Vos jumped from the peloton. Van Vleuten soon latched onto the duo to cover for teammate Amanda Spratt. The Australian went over the final climb of the day, the Côte d'Esquillot, with 15″ to spare and 12 kilometres to go. Anarchy reigned in the peloton as the rider from Down Under entered the final kilometre with around 10 seconds on the chasers. Fans were on the edge of their seats.

Vos crushes the opposition

At a length of 70 metres and a gradient of 17%, the final wall was as steep as it was short, and Marianne Vos used it as a launch pad for a savage and decisive attack. The Olympic champion and three-time world champion caught Spratt with 350 metres to go and comfortably took the win ahead of Canada's Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb) and Denmark's Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla). It was Vos's second triumph in La Course, coming five years after claiming the inaugural edition on the Champs-Élysées. She is now level with Van Vleuten, who finished seventh and was the only rider with two victories in the race until this morning. A new chapter in the legend of Marianne Vos.

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