Johansson 8th in La Course Champs-Élysées spectacle

Sun 27 Jul 2014

Swedish champion Emma Johansson has finished eighth in the inaugural La Course by Le Tour de France this afternoon.

On what was a historic day for women’s cycling, the race didn’t disappoint with 13 frantic and unrelenting laps of the Tour de France Champs-Élysées circuit. Marianne Vos (RBW) was the eventual winner in a selective sprint.

“What a fantastic race it was,” sport director Gene Bates said following the race.

“For women’s cycling and our ORICA-AIS girls, we were really pleased that it was a super aggressive race.

“We didn’t get the result we were really after, but we wanted to animate the race and I think that’s what we did.”

Countless attacks shaped the relatively short and flat 89km race, but with teams eager to be on the podium of the already esteemed race, efforts were quickly shut down.

The final lap, stepping up another level of intensity, saw a minor crash but the pure speed as riders fought for position saw many drop off the back.

Johansson was amongst the animators throughout the race and backed up to contest what resulted in a select bunch sprint to the finish.

“We wanted to support Emma,” Bates said.

“But we also knew that if it came down to a big bunch sprint she probably wasn’t going to beat the likes of Vos or (Kirsten) Wild in the sprint so she had to play her cards and have a go at getting in the break away also.

“If a breakaway had moved, she was in it and it had gone to the finish we would have been really happy with that and could have come away with the victory so we had to gamble.

“She probably spent a little bit during the race, more so than if she just protected herself for the final sprint but that was a gamble we took and I don’t think we can be disappointed with the teams effort today at all.”

La Course by Le Tour de France gathered significant support for its first edition, broadcasted by 157 countries. Bates is confident the race delivered to its hype and will be a reoccurring highlight of the cycling calendar.

“It was brilliant. It really was exceptional,” Bates said.

“For the girls to be involved in the Tour de France on the last day on the Champs-Élysées is something that they will all remember for a long time.

“I think they put on a great spectacle and hopefully they gain the support of the ASO and Tour de France again for a few more years to come at least.”