Lizzie Deignan of Trek-Segafredo has won La Course by the Tour de France in Nice today, edging out CCC-Liv’s Marianne Vos in a thrilling finish. The former world champions were among a star-studded lead group of six riders that included the current wearer of the rainbow jersey, Annamiek van Vleuten of Mitchelton-Scott.
It was the latter who initiated the key move that formed the group that would contest the victory, attacking at the foot of the second ascent of the Côte de Rimiez, halfway through the 96km race.
She was joined by Deignan, Vos and Canyon SRAM’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma, as well as Demi Vollering of Parkhotel Valkenburg, who would finish third, and Trek-Segafredo’s Elisa Longo Borghini, who played a crucial role in her team-mate’s eventual win.
What a race! What a team! What a sprint!
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) August 29, 2020
With no-one willing to take over at the front of the group on the climb from van Vleuten, the world champion put in a huge turn, building an advantage of more than a minute over the pursuing bunch by the time the summit was reached with 31.5km remaining.
The advantage grew on the precipitous descent towards the coast, with Longo Borghini almost crashing when she took a corner too wide, but she managed to recover.
The attacks from the front group began on the Promenade des Anglais with around 3km left and one from van Vleuten saw Longo Borghini distanced by 50 metres or more.
In the final kilometre, Deignan found herself in the unenviable position of being at the front of the group ahead of the sprint.
But with the five riders watching each other, her Italian team-mate rejoined the group and flew off the front, Vos grabbing her wheel and Deignan following the Dutchwoman.
The Yorkshire rider seized her chance, coming past Vos with a throw of her bike on the line.
Today’s victory also sees Deignan, who crashed at the European championships in Plouay just two days ago, take over the lead of the UCI Women’s WorldTour.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.