La Course remains one day with circuit race for 2019

Although fans and riders have often asked for a women's stage race, Tour de France organizers stick with one-day format for La Course.

Photo: Getty Images

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At the Tour de France route presentation Thursday, organizers detailed the La Course women’s race, which will be held July 19 in Pau. It will be a 120-kilometer circuit race held on the time trial route set for stage 13 of the men’s race.

Although some fans and riders have called for a stage race to run alongside the world’s biggest race, Tour de France organizer ASO will carry on with a one-day format for La Course in 2019.

In the previous four years of women’s racing at the Tour, the La Course peloton has raced before the men. If that remains the case this year, it might be an early start for the pro women. For the stage 20 time trial in the 2018 Tour, the first rider left the start gate at noon. The women’s field would need to be off the course by that point.

The route itself is hilly with Côte d’Esquillot likely the decisive hill. That punchy climb to 307 meters tops out about 16km into the lap.

According to the ASO press release, this edition of La Course will balance out the previous editions, offering an opportunity for a different type of rider to win one of the most prominent races on the Women’s WorldTour calendar.

“After the sprinters on the Champs-Elysées, the climbers on the Col de l’Izoard pass and then at Grand-Bornand, this time the punchers will be in the limelight,” said the statement.

Annemiek van Vleuten won the 2018 edition of La Course in dramatic fashion, catching fellow Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen in the final kilometer of the mountainous race to Le Grand-Bornand.

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