Pre­view: La Course this week­end

96km | Saturday 29 Au­gust | Nice

Cycling Weekly - - WELCOME -

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”

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