Preview: La Course this weekend
96km | Saturday 29 August | Nice
Acursory look at the profile of this year’s La Course would lead you to conclude it’s a sprinters’ race but with very little racing having taken place since the end of lockdown it could prove unpredictable.
The race had been scheduled to take place in Paris on the Champs Elysées on the Tour de France’s final day, a return to its roots. However, when the Tour was rescheduled it was moved to Nice and will take place ahead of the men’s race on the same day.
At only 96km in length the race is ripe for attacks and there are opportunities too with two climbs of the Côte de Rimiez. However, the chances of them surviving are slim as the second, and sightly easier ascent, tops out over 30km from the finish line and it’s mostly downhill from there.
That said the women’s peloton has done very little racing since the end of lockdown so the form book is wide open and those wanting to make their mark may fancy their chances.
This race has always been a bone of contention with few seemingly happy with its one-day, tagged-on status next to the men’s Tour. World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-scott) vented frustration with the course on social media saying it “wasn’t really Worldtour level” when it was unveiled. However, her climbing and time trial skills would seem to be of minimal use here.
Perhaps unsurprisingly fastwoman Chloe Hosking (Rally) offered a contrary assessment: “Personally, Annemiek, I don’t think it’s that atrocious. It will only be the second Worldtour race back after six months of no racing. For many riders their first race. The course and distance will lend itself to exciting racing, which is what the peloton and the fans need right now.”
To see who is right you’ll need to tune in on Saturday.
“Little racing this year means the form book is wide open”