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by Shane Stokes
October 19, 2017
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The fifth edition of La Course by Le Tour in 2018 will once again be a one-day event to be held on Tuesday, July 17th, the ASO revealed on Tuesday. And like the 2017 edition up the Col d’Izoard, it’ll be one for the climbers. In the upcoming season, the women’s peloton will tackle a 118-kilometre race from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand with identical finish as the men’s race that day.
Started in 2014, La Course is a women’s race held in conjunction with one of the men’s Tour de France stages. The first three editions were a circuit-like race on the iconic Champs-Élysées in the heart of Paris. While the race was short, the ambience, the TV coverage, the crowds and the fact that it was held on the same day as the men’s Tour de France finale made it one of the most talked-about events on the calendar.
Since its inception, however, vague promises were made about the one-day race being a first step to build and expand upon in the future. This year, in 2017, race organisers did decide to change things up. La Course was moved out of Paris and into the Alps with a 67-kilometre hillclimb up the Col d’Izoard followed by an experimental pursuit-style time trial two days later in Marseille.
The new two-pronged format was met with mixed reviews by riders and fans alike. While intriguing, the format didn’t quite work. Only the top 19 finishers (out of the 119 starters) of the Col d’Izoard stage were permitted to partake in the 22.5-kilometre pursuit, and the potential of an exciting chase failed due to the large gaps in the start times.
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