Gallery: Hosking Wins La Course by Le Tour de France 2016 - Total Women's Cycling

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Gallery: Hosking Wins La Course by Le Tour de France 2016

A spectacular win for the Aussie sprinter from Wiggle High5

Chloe Hosking (Wiggle High5) won on the cobble stones of Paris today, clasping her hands to her face as she celebrated a momentous victory. 

The race is regarded as a remarkable step forward for women’s cycling, as the peloton gathers in front of ready crowds at the venue of the final stage of the most prestigious Grand Tour in the calendar.

Despite a few hopeful breaks, the battle came down to a bunch sprint after 89 kilometers of racing, with Lotta Lepisto of Cervelo Bigla in second and Marianne Vos in third.

“To cross the line with my hands in the air was just crazy!” – Chloe Hosking, 2016 La Course winner

Commenting after the crashtastic race, Hosking said: “To cross the line with my hands in the air was just crazy! I still haven’t seen my teammates, I think they came down in some crashes, so I’m a bit like ‘I want to know where they are!’”

Initially Rabo Liv controlled the pace, but then a break of four formed – containing  Hannah Barnes (Canyon//SRAM), RaboLiv’s Lucinda Brand, Boels Dolmans’ Chantal Blaak and BePink’s Olga Zabelinskaya.

The quartet managed to build up a substantial lead, but the flat nature of the course meant they were caught fairly quickly and the bunch was together again.

As the laps gradually decreased, sprint teams came to the front, and Wiggle High5 had a notable presence at the business end of the peloton. Boels were also at the fore – and with the combined and varying skills sets of Christine Majerus, Chantal Blaak and Eline Van Dijk all present they were clearly a threat.

With one and a half laps to go, Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5), Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv) opened a small gap, but they couldn’t do enough for success. As they were caught, former World Time Trial Champion van Dijk launched her own escape from the peloton, just before the peloton ducked into the tunnel beneath the Jardin des Tuileries for the last time. Considering her TT prowess and remembering the success Anna van der Breggen had to win solo last year, this seemed a dangerous move but van Dijk was caught leaving the race to culminate in a sprinter’s delight.

The bunch was nervy and fast corners and cobbles made for several crashes throughout the race. In the final laps there were two mass pile ups – one mid pack and one at the front. The largest took place with just 3km from the finish – a notable number of riders went down, and though nearly all were back on their bikes in a minute or so, their chances of catching the peloton on the final lap were slim.

The crash claimed Majerus and Dani King (Wiggle High5), among others, reducing the peloton to around 25 riders, with a few contenders removed.

As the line approached, Hosking launched her sprint. She went early, but got the jump on her competitors, taking the win with Lepisto behind her and Vos in third.

“I was waiting for them to come [past me], and they didn’t come!”

Describing the final metres, Hosking explained just how early she launched her sprint, saying: “I was just jumping from train to train. First of all Canyon were going, then Rabo came, and I came through that bottom corner – which is still 400 to go – on Pauline Ferrand-Prevot’s wheel. Then she sort of swung with 300 to go and I thought ‘this is way too early!’ but I went, kicked, sat on Ellen’s wheel, and then kicked again… I was waiting for them to come [past me], and they didn’t come!”

Hosking continued past the finish line – uncharacteristically after a win under the hot, beating sun but explained: “I just kept riding after the finish, and people probably thought I was a bit weird,” Hosking laughed. “But my family and my fiancé are about 200 metres past the finish line, so I just wanted to go and see them. I think we’re all in a bit of disbelief at the moment.”

TWC arrived early, ready for an exciting race - crowds had already gathered
Team presentations must feel amazing at this incredible venue
The start line bristles with excitement
Last minute bike checks on the start line
For women's cylcing to grow we need more media attention, at more races
Wiggle HIgh5's entourage had BOUNCERS (we think...)
Nerves and smiles at Astana - it's always interesting to see the mixed emotions from different riders
Vos checks she has all the right data on screen
Smiles from Canyon//SRAM
Chloe Hosking chats to team mates at the start
They're off!
The riders start La Course under beating sun
The peloton kept the first couple of laps quite steady but that didn't last long
The corners were fast and furious
A few riders ended up off the back with mechanicals
But most made it back on
King chases on after an early mechanical
The peloton stayed largely together
A few breaks tried to get away, this one containing Hannah Barnes
A few nasty crashes throughout the race
Fans make their way to the finish in anticipation
In the hot weather the riders take new bottles in almost every lap (image: Velofocus)
The finish line was busy with two laps to go
There were a few fairly substantial crashes, this one just 3km from the finish involved quite a few riders and put them out the back of the bunch when they returned to their bikes
On the bell lap it was clear we were waiting for a sprint finish
Hosking comes through first, and claps her hands to her face in her characteristic 'disbelief' celebration. Image: Velofocus
Barnes in her National Champion jersey
Wiggle High5 celebrate their team win
Hosking is followed to the podium after her win at La Course
The woman of the moment
Chloe Hosking (AUS) of Wiggle Hi5 Cycling Team celebrates winning the La Course,. Image: Velofocus
Selfies on the podium
Vos rides away with her flowers

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