La Course Preview

The fifth edition of La Course by Le Tour de France will take place on Tuesday 17 July. After its expansion last year, La Course will be a one-day race again in 2018. Read on to get the knowledge you need before it begins...

Annemiek van Vleuten battling the Col d'Izoard in 2017's race

Annemiek van Vleuten battling the Col d'Izoard in 2017's race


The route

This year’s shorter edition follows the same route as stage ten of the men's Tour de France. The 112.5 kilometres from Duingt to Le Grand-Bornard in the French Alps includes two intermediate climbs. Spectators will get to enjoy the scenery of Lake Annecy while waiting for the peloton to arrive, but the 160 riders will be firmly focused on the two Category One climbs they need to conquer before a long descent to the finish.   

Last year’s route, which consisted of a mountain stage and a pursuit, was criticised by some riders as messy. With the omission of the pursuit, the race organisers will be hoping the race is an exciting but uncontroversial day.


The teams

Twenty teams of eight riders will contest La Course’s fifth edition.

Look out for Mitchelton-Scott who boast the Giro Rosa winner and third place-getter in their ranks. The perennially strong teams of Boels-Dolmans, Cervélo–Bigla, Sunweb, and Wiggle High5 will be doing their best to disrupt Mitchelton-Scott’s dream season. 

Four teams are making their La Course debut this year. Riders from Movistar, Trek - Drops, United Healthcare, and Valcar PBM will be looking to promote their teams by getting into an early breakaway.

With the Giro finishing mere days ago, the pro cycling teams are in the middle of a busy and taxing part of the season. Results at the Giro provide some guidance on who to watch at La Course...


The contenders

Last year’s La Course winner, Annemiek van Vleuten, is back to defend her title in 2018. The Dutch rider is surrounded by a strong Mitchelton-Scott team, and will be buoyed by her stand-out performance at the Giro where she won three stages to finish on top of the podium. 

Van Vleuten’s teammate, Amanda Spratt, is also coming off a strong Giro. Spratt finished third overall and wore the pink jersey for a day after her win on stage six. Although she will be riding La Course in support of Van Vleuten, don’t be surprised if you see Spratt challenge for a top three finish.

Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), will fancy herself on this year’s course. One of the best climbers on the tour, van der Breggen is also nicknamed Queen of the Ardennes, thanks to her success in the one-day classics. Boels-Dolmans boast a handful of big names, including world and national champions, but given van der Breggen’s versatility in the mountains and on the flat, she is a good chance to be named team leader in what could be her year at La Course. 

Ashleigh Moolman of Cervélo–Bigla is coming off a record-breaking result at the Giro. Finishing in second place, she was the first African to achieve a Grand Tour podium finish. Moolman will be looking to build on that result as she leads her team in La Course. A tenacious and attacking rider, Moolman won't be afraid of the increased pressure brought on by her recent strong showings.


How to watch

In the UK ITV4 will be screening La Course from 9.30am to 12pm with evening highlights from 7pm to 8pm. Eurosport will also be covering the race from 8:15am to 12pm on the Eurosport 1 channel. 

Words by Louise Scarce