Girls could cycle the Tour de France route, so why give them La Course?

Annemiek Van Vleuten was a worthwhile winner of the two-day race but females cyclists deserve more than a shortened mountain stagecoach and a novelty pursuit

Anyone who watched Annemiek van Vleutens sickening, bone-crunching gate-crash as she was heading for gold in the womens superhighway hasten at the Olympics last-place summer will have been roaring her over the line in the concluding theatre of La Course on Saturday. Van Vleuten was a worthwhile winner, having duelled back to fitness after suffering three spinal ruptures and a severe concussion in Rio. Her win signifies a Dutch equestrian has won the race in three of the last four years.

The previous three editions of La Course took place on the final Sunday of the Tour de France, with a sprint on the Champs-lyses, but the organizer initiated a new format this year. On Thursday, riders hastened a 67 km mountain stagecoach from Brianon to the top of the fearsome Col dIzoard. The top finishers from Thursday qualified for a 22.5 km pursuit-style individual meter trial in Marseille on Saturday.

The first attack on Thursday came from world time-trial champ Linda Villumsen as the race neared the foot of the Izoard, rearing up out of the Alps and clambering to 2,360 m through the spooky parched landscape of the Casse Dserte, the backdrop for so many magnificent exploits on the Tour de France. Boels-Dolmans, the team of British champ Lizzie Deignan swept to the front of the hasten, limiting things perfectly for Deignan to propel her own brutal attack on the lower gradients, shedding all but four members of the elite group of 20 equestrians still left in assertion: Megan Guarnier, Shara Gillow, Elisa Longo-Borghini and Van Vleuten.

However, despite having a team-mate as experienced and capable as Guarnier who won the Giro Rosa and the Tour of California last season Deignan could not keep pace with Van Vleuten with only over 4km turn left climb. Van Vleuten has been focusing on her climbing since Rio and her recent training at altitude paid for by richly. She knew she had to build a cause before Saturdays pursuit stage and her tactics paid for by. You likewise have to think about the leg, she supposed after the hasten. In the end it turned out large and provide proof the right time to go.

Stage
Stage two of La Course in Marseille. Photo: Bryn Lennon/ Getty Images

The second stage of the hasten was predominantly academic given van Vleutens health experience advantage 43 seconds and Deignans decision to drop behind and “ve been waiting for” team-mate Guarnier and Longo Borghini who had started some 40 seconds behind her. The gamble did not pay off for the British rider, who eventually beat the Italian in a two-up sprint inside the Stade Vlodrome to finish in second place.

Deignan was critical of the new two-day format, replying she had considered Thursday as a race but the seek as a little bit of merriment. The format needs some work it was good but there is definitely work to be done. Im open-minded to the concept, but it needs tidying up. We took it as gravely as probably we felt the organizer took us today.

Judith_Arndt, the three-time nature endorse, was more sarcastic: Im not sure I understand whats good about presenting parties with a poverty-stricken concoction if you actually have a really good one. Kathryn Bertine, one of the original movers and shakers behind La Course, said the organisers had replaced progress for shapeshifting but Marianne Vos was more diplomatic, answering: I am optimistic. Its a enjoyable, restored format for both the riders and the public.

Naturally, Van Vleuten was more impressed. It was super, she suggested. There were so many parties on the course. It formed us go really fast. Hopefully we entertained the person or persons. Van Vleutens Strava register from the Izoard demonstrates she used the second largest faster equestrian on the clamber that day exclusively Warren Barguil travelled quicker. I remember beings really like to see that; girlfriends are also pretty fast on the motorcycle, she answered. It was a great minute to journey up the Izoard with lots of people to watch.

Although women equestrians have attacked the epic clamber of the Grand Tours in the past, this was the first time in over 30 years they had hastened on a mountain parcours on the road leading of France. When Laurent Fignon stood on the top pace of the podium in the 1984 Tour, he shared the commendation with American equestrian Marianne Martin, who had cavorted to succes on the relentless descents of the Joux Plane. That females are reduced to riding a shortened mountain theatre and a originality quest 30 years later seems a huge step backwards.

Meanwhile, Donnons des elle au Velo J-1were busy triumphing the hearts of the French public by journeying the totality of the Tour de France route one day before the professional peloton. Its a timely reminder, if one were needed, that maidens are more than capable of handling a three-week Tour.

Helen Russell, the Current British quadrathlon champion, is someone who knows how much bear and triumph is involved in travelling the roadway of the Tour de France. She razzed the street in 2015 alongside former footballer Geoff Thomas as part of the One Day Ahead unit in a bid to raise money for Leukemia Research. The meaning that the Tour de France route would be too hard for women has been proven to be wrong by the amateur women who have gone the itinerary over its first year, she remarks.

Theyve shown that the mileage and terrain is not beyond the capabilities of women riders. In years gone by maidens werent allowed to run marathons due to headaches over their own health. These daytimes that seems ludicrous and hopefully one day the idea that there cant be a womens Tour de France will be just as laughable.

With the Izoard stage of La Course plucking in 1 million viewers in France alone, the demand is clearly there. As cyclist Leah Kirschman gave it: Recreation to race in front of the crowds in Marseille, but time gaps much too large. Who votes for a theatre hasten next year ?! The respond is clear: the considering public. Itll be interesting to see if the organisers step up to the challenge in 2018.

This article is from 100 Tours 100 Tales
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