Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Vos wins inaugural ‘La Course’ on Champs-Elysees

AP, PARIS

Rabobank-Liv’s Marianne Vos of the Netherlands celebrates winning La Course by Le Tour de France on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the inaugural women’s version of the Tour de France on Sunday, a 88.5km circuit on the famous cobblestones of Paris’ Champs-Elysees.

“I felt quite good,” the Rabobank-Liv rider said after the race. “My team was upfront all the time — we were in every breakaway so I could stay relaxed. It gave me extra motivation to be there in the final sprint and to push maximum power.”

Giant-Shimano’s Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands finished second and Optum Pro Cycling’s Leah Kirchmann of Canada was third.

In this first edition of “La Course by le Tour de France,” 120 women from 20 teams raced 13 laps of Paris’ broad tree-lined boulevard for a prize of 22,500 euros (US$30,235). For many of the professional cyclists, being able to race in Paris was a gift in itself.

“It’s fantastic to be here, on the Champs-Elysees and to have this opportunity for women’s cycling to show ourselves in front of this crowd and in front of the whole world,” Vos said.

Belgian cycling fan Dirk Dillen said it was about time the race was created.

“Women do the same efforts as guys, so they deserve to get more in the picture, and it’s a very good thing that they can ride here in the picture,” Dillen said.

British Olympic silver medalist Emma Pooley of Lotto-Belisol said she hopes this race will be the start of something bigger.

“It will take time and it has to be sustainable,” Pooley said. “It has to have the viewers and the sponsors. I think this is a really good test.”

Tour director Jean-Francois Pescheux said he is already looking to the future.

“The next step will be, first to consolidate as much as possible this race, to make it sustainable in the long run, and then to try and organize a race with different stages which would really respond to the demands of professional female cyclists,” Pescheux said.

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