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Demi Vollering (SD Worx) won La Course by Le Tour de France with a hilltop sprint Saturday, beating back her veteran compatriot Marianne Vos (Jumbo Visma) and rising talent Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope).
Vollering took the win after a scintillating finale that saw a select group throwing haymakers at one another on the tough climb to the line in Landernau.
Race report: Vollering conquers hilltop sprint at La Course
As has been the script so many times this season, SD Worx used its strength in depth to control the race before Vollering and reigning world champion Anna van der Breggen made the final selection on the final Fosse aux Loups hilltop.
Like at Liège-Bastogne-Liège this spring, the world champion leading out the sprint for her teammate – and just like in April, Vollering delivered with victory.
Demi Vollering (SD Worx): Winner
— Team SD Worx (@teamsdworx) June 26, 2021
Demi Vollering continued her standout debut season with SD Worx on Saturday.
Vollering timed her winning sprint to perfection after patiently waiting for Vos to kick first. Despite being just 24 years old, the Dutchwoman has become a central part of her team since transferring from Parkhotel Valkenberg at the start of the year.
With victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and second at both Amstel Gold and Brabantse Pijl already in her 2021 palmarès and the weight of a dominant SD Worx team behind her, it seems just a matter of time until Vollering scores again.
“I was not expecting that today,” she said. “Because Anna made so much speed she forced Marianne to go, and I could go in her slipstream and come over her. It gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”
“We [SD Worx] needed a hard race, and it was hard from the beginning so that was good for us. Niamh [Fisher Black] did a great job in the break, Chantaal [van den Broek Blaak] was always on the front – and Anna of course in the end, it was really good teamwork, so it’s super cool I could finish it off.”
Marianne Vos: 3rd
Marianne Vos had been the first to open the sprint, punching out of van der Breggen’s wheel. However, with Vollering sitting in her slipstream, the 34-year-old was rounded at the last to place third.
Jumbo-Visma worked its team strength to move Anna Henderson in the key break of the day as Vos waited behind, giving the squad a number of options. When the breakaway was caught, it was all eyes on fast-finishers Vos and Vollering.
After winning La Course in 2014 and 2019, Vos was unable to make it three Saturday as Vollering proved the fastest. Vos couldn’t hide her dissatisfaction after the race.
“The team rode a very strong race today. With Henderson we had a rider in almost every breakaway and in the peloton we were in control. So everything went according to plan. Also on the climb. I was in a good position for the sprint, but unfortunately I didn’t have the power anymore.
“Of course I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t win. But I also have to be realistic. I gave everything I had, but I already felt that the freshness was gone when I started my sprint. Vollering was faster today.”
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo): 9th
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) June 26, 2021
Lizzie Deignan was one of a long list of contenders for the victory Saturday after an impressive showing at the recent Tour de Suisse earlier this month.
However, the sharp ramps at the base of the final climb proved to be her undoing. Deignan was distanced when the attacks started flying out of the peloton and dangled with a handful of others just seconds behind the lead group. The Brit was never able to regain contact before van der Breggen wound up the sprint, leaving her to finish ninth, just four seconds back.
“From the start to the finish, I just felt terrible. I knew it was about suffering and I just didn’t have the finish like the girls in front. I know my form is there but today was such a bad day that I couldn’t suffer enough to be there.
“It was frustrating but as a team we rode really well, we were represented in all the breakaways and the team looked after me really well. It’s just a shame I didn’t have the feelings to finish it off.”