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German organizers miffed by anticipated La Course expansion

La Course may expand to a multi-day stage race, after Thuringen Rundfart is asked to move to earlier dates, to the organizers' dismay.

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Race organizers haven’t confirmed it yet, but it looks like La Course by Le Tour de France will expand in 2017. The Guardian reports that the ASO confirmed, “the format will be different in 2017.” But that news doesn’t sit well with everyone.

According to a post on the Internationale Thuringen Rundfart’s website, the UCI has strong-armed the German race into rescheduling its dates, which had previously been set and agreed upon. Race director Vera Hohlfeld said she was “cross” that the UCI told her to reschedule the race’s 30th edition to run July 12-18, two days earlier than planned.

“The interest the Tour de France organizers have in women’s cycling is very commendable, but an approach that feels unfair to us is beyond what I can understand,” Hohlfeld said in a written statement.

The Tour de France will finish on Sunday, July 23. Since its inception in 2014, La Course has been a one-day criterium, held on the final day of the Tour on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. With Thuringen Rundfart ending on the 18th, La Course now has breathing room to add at least one or two additional days of racing, if the ASO chooses to go that route. Thanks to its pairing with the Tour, La Course is arguably one of the most prominent races on the women’s calendar, despite the somewhat staid parcours.