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Returning for its second edition, La Course by Le Tour de France, will again include a stellar field of the top athletes in women’s cycling. Headlined by current world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo-Liv), the women will tackle the partially-cobbled Champs-Élysées circuit on Sunday, July 26, prior to the finish of the men’s race.
The top-notch peloton will include 19 UCI-registered teams plus the French national team. The 120-rider field will complete 13 laps of the famed course around the Champs-Élysées for a total race distance of 91km. Inaugural race winner, Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv), will not return to defend her title, as she continues to recover from injuries sustained earlier in the year.
Despite the defending champion’s absence, there will be no shortage of talent on the start line. Last year’s runner-up Kristen Wild (Hitec Products) will return and has shown great form this season, collecting 11 wins to date. Canadian Leah Kirchmann (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), also on the podium a year ago, will be back, looking to capture the top step. She claimed second at both the national road race championships and Tour de Delta road race.
Wiggle-Honda enters the race with a dual-threat in the sprinting department, having Italian road championship runner-up Elisa Longo Borghini and two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini at its disposal.
Another Italian, Elena Cecchini (Lotto-Soudal) — who beat Longo Borghini at nationals this year — is a young, rising sprint star to watch.
Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) was aggressive in La Course 2014, launching multiple attacks. She may try the same tactic again this year, as her teammate, Lizzie Armiststead, has a fast-finishing kick, should the race come down to a bunch sprint.
And don’t count out Emma Johannson of Orica-AIS. The Swedish national road and time trial champion has an uncanny ability to do well over any terrain, thus she is never far away from the pointy end of the race.
For the U.S., Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) will look to improve on her sixth-place finish from last year. The sprint phenom captured second in the road race at both the Pan American and U.S. championships but has only one major win to her credit so far this season, stage 3 of the Joe Martin Stage Race.
La Course by Le Tour de France will be live on Universal Sports beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern on July 26. Will Ferrand-Prévot be able to win on the Champs-Élysées in the rainbow bands like her teammate did a year ago?