La Course is a Parisian city centre circuit race that allows the women’s peloton to make the most of crowds gathered for the finale of the Tour de France. Now in its third year, it’s always been a hugely high profile race, but with its new Women’s World Tour status it’s even more hotly anticipated.
The product of effective campaigning from Marianne Vos, Kathryn Bertine, Emma Pooley and Ironman triathlete Chrissie Wellington, it was seen as a step in the direction of reinstating the Women’s Tour de France which ceased to be back in 2009.
This year’s race takes place this Sunday, 24 July. In total, 21 teams will gather at the start line – with every single World Tour team having accepted invitation, as well as the addition of the French National team.
The teams you'll be able to see racing this event are:
- Rabo Liv
- Lotto Soudal
- Wiggle High5
- Ale Cipollini
- United Healthcare
- Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank
- Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental
- Cylance Pro Cycling
- BTC City Ljubljana
- Hitec Products
- Cervelo Bigla
- Astana Women's Team
- Topsport Vlaanderen
- France National Team
There will be 126 riders, and you can see who will be lining up on the official start list here. We know Boels-Dolmans will be looking to continue their incredible run of good results, but 2014 winner Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) is intending to start and after showing good in Germany too she'll be on our 'watch list'. Canyon//SRAM's Lisa Brennauer and Barbara Guarischi are always ones to keep an eye on in a sprint finish such as this, as are Wiggle High5's Chloe Hosking and Liv Plantur's rider Leah Kirchmann.
The course remains completely unchanged – it covers 13 laps of a just sub 7 kilometer circuit, totalling 89km. The riders will take centre stage on the Champs Élysées ahead of the men’s race, negotiating the cobbles which proved treacherous in last year’s downpour.
The criterium format and flat terrain has always meant a full gas bunch sprint has been the expectation – which was fulfilled in 2014 by Marianne Vos. However, as heavy skies emptied themselves on the peloton in 2015 it was her team mate Anna van der Breggen who defied expectation to break away and win solo. We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see if the peloton will let the indivertible happen, or if someone will roll a risky dice to good fortune once again.
Discussing her expectations for the race, Canyon//SRAM's Tiffany Crowmell said: “La Course in general is a fast race due to the nature of the course making breakaways challenging to stick. I think it'll be an aggressive race as everyone wants their time to shine. But in the end it'll likely be a bunch kick to the finish when we see those with the strongest trains and those with the fastest, most powerful legs succeed."
Aside from the racing, she also mentioned the spectators that make the experience so special to the women's peloton, saying: “I love this race as it’s not every day you get to race in the centre of a major city let alone up and down the famous Champs-Élysées. It's iconic. A beautiful race with awesome crowds and being run alongside one of the biggest sporting events in the world, Le Tour de France. It makes it extra special."
The race starts at 1.15pm CEST, 11.15am GMT. It’ll be broadcast within the ITV4 highlights, from 9 to 10pm on the same day. However, those with Eurosport can watch live on Eurosport 1 from 1.30 to 3pm, with highlights from 11.10pm until midnight.