Annemiek van Vleuten back to defend La Course crownTue 16 Jul 2019
Double Giro-Rosa champion Annemiek van Vleuten will be out to defend another crown as she returns to La Course by the Tour de France on Friday.
Fresh off her triumph in Italy, the 36-year-old will be looking to make it a hattrick of wins at the French one-day race, after her famous victory in 2018 and her dominant performance in the 2017 edition.
The reigning World time trial champion will be supported by a strong squad that includes triple Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt and Sarah Roy who both come into the race off the back of the Giro-Rosa.
Amanda Spratt (AUS, 31)
Alex Manly (AUS, 23)
Jess Allen (AUS, 26)
Georgia Williams (NZL, 25)
Sarah Roy (AUS, 33)
Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 36)
This year the organisers have designed a different course to the previous editions with the peloton facing four laps of a circuit around Pau. Each lap on the 121-kilometre route will take in the same climb, the 1.1-kilometre in length Cite de Gelos which averages 7.7%.
The parcour has been likened to an Ardennes Classic and the ramp on each lap will no doubt wear the field down over the course of the race.
Van Vleuten has triumphed at the race in the previous two editions, with her first victory coming after a daring solo attack on the Col d'Izoard in 2017, before she backed it up with a convincing win in the following day’s time trial.
The event reverted back to a one-day race last season and Van Vleuten took one of the most memorable wins of the year as she reeled in Anna van der Breggen just metres from the line to take a famous win.
Annemiek Van Vleuten:
“I felt super good during the Giro and I’m super happy to be able to race La Course again, to be able to use my legs again! I don’t feel pressure. I think we showed we are in great shape and I am very keen to race again!”
“The course this year is not as hard as the last two editions, but it still has the same amount of elevation metres and it’s a lot like the Ardennes Classics. So for sure, it’s not easy! I think this course will be interesting because not only climbers, but also punchy riders can win.”
“I still get goosebumps if I re-watch last year’s La Course and I’m super proud to be part of a race that people still talk about. It will be hard to 'beat' last year’s exciting race, but for sure I will give it a go!”
Martin Vestby (Sports Director)
“I think this year’s La Course invites different scenarios and aggressive racing. The course is hard and hilly, so it can be suitable for early breaks and late attacks. But for sure you need to climb well to survive to the final.”
“Annemiek had a great Giro-Rosa, she’s still in form and looking forward to racing again and I'm sure she will have the legs from Giro and will come into the race relaxed and happy.”
“Our team has a good mix of riders. We have fresh riders who are coming out of a block of training and for sure they will be hungry to prove themselves. I think the team is balanced and should be to handle most situations.”
La Course by Le Tour De France Race Details:
Friday, 19th July: Pau - Pau, 121km
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.