Tour de France organizer ASO announced last week that the women’s La Course event will expand to a second day of racing, a 23-kilometer pursuit race on July 22 in Marseille, France.
The pursuit format, rarely seen in road cycling, seeds riders’ start times based on their results from the previous event, in this case, the 67-kilometer race on July 20, which finishes with a 14km climb up Col d’Izoard. Riders who finish within five minutes of the winner on the Izoard will be able to race the Saturday event around the Orange Vélodrome. The riders will be seeded based off of their finish time behind the winner of Thursday’s climbing stage. For example, if a rider wins by 15 seconds, she will start first, and the next starter on Saturday will go off 15 seconds behind. Based on ASO’s preliminary announcement, it appears that conventional mass-start rules will apply.
The Tour de France’s stage 20 individual time trial will take place later that day on the same on the same route in Marseille. ASO says that 67,000 spectators are expected on Saturday. The men’s race will finish the following day in Paris, in keeping with tradition.
After three years of racing on the Champs-Élysées, prior to the traditional stage 21 finish of the men’s race, ASO moved the race to a mountaintop finish for 2017. This drew some criticism due to the route’s short length.
Australian Chloe Hosking won the 2016 race in a sprint on Paris’s famous boulevard.