Unstoppable Van Vleuten wins La Course for the second year runningTue 17 Jul 2018
Only 48hours after sealing the first Grand Tour victory in the history of Mitchelton-SCOTT, Giro Rosa champion Annemiek van Vleuten did it again, taking a spectacular last-minute win at La Course by Le Tour de France.
The world time trial champion was part of a strong favourites group on the final climb up the Col de la Colombiere alongside teammate and Giro Rosa green jersey winner Amanda Spratt and Mitchelton-SCOTT duo tried a tactical one-two which succeeded in reducing the group further.
Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) went next and pushed on to lead into the descent with Van Vleuten chasing. The final kilometre was dramatic as Van Vleuten dug in, shaking off the tiredness from the Giro Rosa with every pedal stroke, gaining on Van der Breggen and passing her metres before the line to take an incredible win.
Four climbs characterised the 118kilometre course from the scenic shores of Lake Annecy through the French Alps, close to the Swiss border and the first splits started to show on the first of these the Col de Bluffy.
Over the top of the next climb, the Cote de Saint-Jean-de-Sixt and five riders broke clear with a couple of chasers in between and gained over two minutes on the peloton with 50kilometres left to race.
As the field sped along the valley floor towards the final climbs of the Col de Romme and the iconic Col de la Colombiere the gap started to reduce and on the early slopes of the Romme the favourites group formed and only two riders remained out front.
Spratt and Van Vleuten were side by side in that group as they started the Colombiere and Cecile Ludwig (Cervelo-Bigla) around a minute ahead, attack after attack thinned out the group inside the closing 20kilometres and Van Vleuten was part of a strong trio chasing down Ludwig towards the summit.
Van der Breggen and Asheligh Moolman (Cervelo-Bigla) followed every move of Van Vlueten and the trio passed Ludwig before the summit. Van der Breggen attacked immediately and gained a slight advantage going into the descent towards the finish.
Van Vleuten produced a remarkable pursuit on the downhill and caught her compatriot just before the line to take another memorable victory.
Annemiek van Vleuten:
“It was unbelievable. With 300metres to go I still thought I would get second and then I saw her dying. To win like this...it was a tough ride, but beautiful."
“The gap going into the descent was really small and Anna is also a really good descender, but I always keep believing and keep on thinking that anything is possible and never give up. That was really important today.
“This win is really beautiful, the second time at La Course and especially coming only two days after winning the Giro Rosa, but to win this race in this way is really special and high up on my list of memorable wins.”
La Course by Le Tour de France results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 03:20:43
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) +0:01
3. Ashleigh Moolman (Cervelo-Bigla) +1:22
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.