Roy races to 15th place in La Course by Le Tour de France

Sun 24 Jul 2016

Former Australian criterium champion Sarah Roy avoided the crashes on the Champs Elysees to finish in 15th place today for ORICA-AIS in La Course by Le Tour de France.

The third edition of the race saw the event move up to WorldTour status bringing in many of the top female riders from around the world, making it a special race and another step forward for women's cycling.

The 89kilometre circuit race concluded in a bunch sprint won by Australian rider Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5) with Roy sprinting to 15th place.

"There were a lot of nervous riders out there today," explained Roy after the finish. "There was a big build up, high stakes and a lot of riders wanting to win."

"Pot holes in the roads and cobbles all around brought a lot of crashes. We had quite lot of bad luck with four of the team coming down. 

"In the finish we had a good go with Jess Allen, Loren Rowney and myself left up there to try for the sprint. Unfortunately we didn't quite get right up there in the final and I could only pull off 15th. 

"It's amazing to do this race with such big crowds and I am happy to avoid the crashes to be able to try in the final. We worked well as a team it was just a shame to lose riders in the final after the crashes."

How it happened: 

In contrast to last year's edition of La Course, the riders assembled themselves on the Champs Elysees at the start line under bright blue skies and pleasant temperatures.

Being one of the biggest spectacles in women's cycling the riders were ready to put on a show and display the high paced, action packed style of racing and immediately within the first laps.

The route covered 12 laps of a 6.8kilometre circuit, exactly the same as what the men race around later in the afternoon, passing by Place de la Concorde along the challenging cobble drag up towards the the Arc d'Triomphe.

Due to the nervous bunch, cobbles and corners, a large crash occurred in the first half taking out Jenelle Crooks and Rowney. Rowney was able to quickly return to the peloton, however it concluded the race for Crooks.

The flurry of attacks continued with one dangerous move of four riders opening up and leading around the lap, the fast pace in the bunch behind led by Wiggle-High5 and ORICA-AIS soon ended the escapee's hopes.

With four laps togo American powerhouse Tayler Wiles jumped clear with five other riders but like all previous attempts they too returned back into the peloton and the race started to look likely for a bunch sprint. 

Soon after another move went this time three riders, Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High5), Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv), and Lauren Stephens (Tibco) and the trio managed to hold off the peloton for the final lap looking touch and go as to whether or not it would be caught. 

More and more crashes followed inside the final lap with all but two of the ORICA-AIS riders falling by the end of the race. With just a few kilometres to go the breakaway was swallowed up by the bunch as Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) found the perfect moment to launch an attack.

Van Dijk led the race around the final bends until the last 300metres when the charge from behind proved too much.

Hosking raced to the victory with Roy the highest place finisher for the team in a respectable 15th place. ORICA-AIS are back in action next weekend at Pridential Ride London.

La Course results:

1. Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5) 2:01:27
2. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla) ST
3. Marianna Vos (Rabo-Liv) ST
15. Sarah Roy (ORICA-AIS) ST