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Five years after her first success, Dutchwoman Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) sprinted over the final decisive hill to victory at La Course by Le Tour de France in Pau.
Vos caught and passed Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) at the top of the climb after Spratt had been on the attack alone for the last of the five 27-kilometer laps.
“My first La Course win was five years ago, to win it again now, on a different circuit, is a very special feeling,” said Vos.
Vos, scoring her ninth victory of season, powered to the finish line, winning by three seconds over Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) who outsprinted Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) in for second place.
“I gave it all I had; I finished empty,” Spratt said. “Of course it’s disappointing for me and the team, I wanted to win for them, but honestly I couldn’t have done anything more, I finished empty.”
Vos came out of the Giro Rosa having won four stages. Expectations were high that she could perform on the punchy La Course route which was run on the same route as the men’s time trial course for stage 13. Spratt’s attack was dangerous, and Vos’s teammates played a critical role in bringing her back.
“We knew we wanted to make it an aggressive race,” Spratt said. “Marianne just won four stages at the Giro on finishes like that, so we knew we didn’t want to take her to the finish. It was up to us to get rid of her.”
And Spratt did her best to do just that. On the final five kilometer run-in to the final punchy climb, Spratt dangled in sight of the charging peloton. As they swept through the corner leading into the final kicker, Vos attacked, immediately pulling back Spratt and putting distance between herself and the rest of the pack. She rounded the final corner onto the finishing straight, looked back once, then twice, and realized she had the win in the bag. She removed her sunglasses before the line and powered through the line.
“When I saw it came down on the climb, I knew I had a chance. I went and just had the legs to continue,” Vos said.
It was the 192nd career win for the 32-year-old Vos.
Top 10 at La Course
1. Marianne Vos (CCC), 3:15:20.
2. Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb) + 3
3. Cecilie Ludwig (Bigla) +3
4. Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) +4
5. Ashleigh Moolman (CCC) +6
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) +6
7. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) +7
8. Soraya Paladin (Alé Cipollini) +7
9. Ane Santesteban (WNT Rotor) +7
10. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) +7