One attack was all Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) needed to gap her rivals on the steep slopes of the Col d’Izoard and take her first La Course victory.
British champion Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) finished second, 43 seconds down, followed by Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle High5) at 1:23 back. American Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) was fourth, 1:28 behind van Vleuten in the 67.5km race.
“You know before I wasn’t really a climber, but since the Olympics in Rio that was the first time that I felt I was climbing really well and that inspired me to focus more on my climbing and when we saw the route for today’s race I knew I wanted to go for it,” said van Vleuten.
A long-range attack from former world time trial champion Linda Villumsen (Team VéloCONCEPT) gained more than 40 seconds with 25 kilometers to go. The move was clearly a danger, as all six Boels-Dolmans went to the front to control. Led by Chantal Blaak, the group pulled the Kiwi back on the Izoard’s lower slopes.
“I knew I couldn’t hold them on the climb, so I had to just give it a try,” Villumsen said. “I was in the first group, then the second, then the third. But that’s the way it is.”
As the climb pitched up, Deignan was the first to truly push on. The British champion set a blistering pace at the base of the Izoard that dropped the front group from more than 20 to a dozen to just five. Deignan briefly dropped her own teammate Guarnier before the American clawed her way back on. Van Vleuten was still there, along with Longo Borghini, FDJ’s Shara Gillow, and Guarnier.
Van Vleuten attacked at 4.6km to go and never looked back. Deignan responded but couldn’t hold the wheel.
“I have to be honest, I thought that maybe I attacked a bit too early, because I was also thinking about Saturday and the time trial, and I knew I needed to gain some time, but you also have to think about the legs,” van Vleuten added. “In the end it turned out great and proved to be the right time to go.”
On Saturday, the top-19 women’s finishers on the Izoard will race a pursuit-style time trial on the same 22.5km route in Marseille that the Tour de France will race in stage 20.
- 1. Annemiek Van Vleuten, (ORICA SCOTT), at :07:18
- 2. Elizabeth Deignan, (BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM), at :43
- 3. Elisa Longo Borghini, (WIGGLE HIGH5), at 01:23
- 4. Megan Guarnier, (BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM), at 01:28
- 5. Shara Gillow, (FDJ NOUVELLE AQUITAINE FUTUROSCOPE), at 01:33
- 6. Amanda Spratt, (ORICA SCOTT), at 01:41
- 7. Lauren Stephens, (TEAM TIBCO – SILICON VALLEY BANK), at 01:51
- 8. Ana Cristina Sanabria Sanchez, (SERVETTO GIUSTA), at 02:24
- 9. Katarzyna Niewiadoma, (WM3 PRO CYCLING TEAM), at 02:52
- 10. Hanna Nilsson, (BTC CITY LJUBLJANA), at 03:04
- 11. Eri Yonamine, (FDJ NOUVELLE AQUITAINE FUTUROSCOPE), at 03:12
- 12. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, (CERVELO – BIGLA PRO CYCLING TEAM), at 03:16
- 13. Janneke Ensing, (ALE CIPOLLINI), at 03:38
- 14. Sabrina Stultiens, (TEAM SUNWEB), at 04:25
- 15. Leah Kirchmann, (TEAM SUNWEB), at 04:34
- 16. Pauline Ferrand Prevot, (CANYON SRAM RACING), at 04:34
- 17. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, (CERVELO – BIGLA PRO CYCLING TEAM), at 04:34
- 18. Urša Pintar, (BTC CITY LJUBLJANA), at 04:34
- 19. Karol-Ann Canuel, (BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM), at 04:50
- 20. Rossella Ratto, (CYLANCE PRO CYCLING), at 05:08
- 21. Nikola NoskovÁ, (BEPINK COGEAS), at 05:08
- 22. Linda Villumsen, (TEAM VELOCONCEPT WOMEN), at 05:15
- 23. Olena Pavlukhina, (ASTANA WOMEN’S TEAM), at 05:19
- 24. Katrine Aalerud, (HITEC PRODUCTS), at 05:35
- 25. Ingrid Drexel Clouthier, (TEAM TIBCO – SILICON VALLEY BANK), at 05:51
- 26. Tetiana Riabchenko, (LENSWORLD – KUOTA), at 06:00
- 27. Juliette Labous, (TEAM SUNWEB), at 06:48
- 28. Ane Santesteban Gonzalez, (ALE CIPOLLINI), at 06:58
- 29. Tatiana Guderzo, (LENSWORLD – KUOTA), at 07:25
- 30. Claudia Lichtenberg, (WIGGLE HIGH5), at 07:25
- 31. Sofia Bertizzolo, (ASTANA WOMEN’S TEAM), at 07:25
- 32. Audrey Cordon Ragot, (WIGGLE HIGH5), at 07:29
- 33. Polona Batagelj, (BTC CITY LJUBLJANA), at 07:32
- 34. Antri Christoforou, (SERVETTO GIUSTA), at 07:46
- 35. Alexandra Manly, (ORICA SCOTT), at 08:12
- 36. Eugenia Bujak, (BTC CITY LJUBLJANA), at 08:22
- 37. Malgorzata Jasinska, (CYLANCE PRO CYCLING), at 08:28
- 38. Carlee Taylor, (ALE CIPOLLINI), at 08:37
- 39. Severine Eraud, (FDJ NOUVELLE AQUITAINE FUTUROSCOPE), at 08:55
- 40. Kathrin Hammes, (TEAM TIBCO – SILICON VALLEY BANK), at 09:09
- 41. Camilla MØllebro Pedersen, (TEAM VELOCONCEPT WOMEN), at 09:14
- 42. Chantal Blaak, (BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM), at 09:29
- 43. Lara Vieceli, (ASTANA WOMEN’S TEAM), at 09:34
- 44. Rachel Neylan, (ORICA SCOTT), at 09:49
- 45. Clara Koppenburg, (CERVELO – BIGLA PRO CYCLING TEAM), at 10:04
- 46. Alison Jackson, (BEPINK COGEAS), at 10:12