Women could cycle the Tour de France route, so why give them La Course?

Annemiek Van Vleuten was a worthy winner of the two-day race but women cyclists deserve more than a shortened mountain stage and a novelty pursuit

By Suze Clemitson of 100 Tales 100 Tours, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Anyone who watched Annemiek van Vleuten’s sickening, bone-crunching crash as she was heading for gold in the women’s road race at the Olympics last summer will have been roaring her over the line in the concluding stage of La Course on Saturday. Van Vleuten was a worthy winner, having battled back to fitness after suffering three spinal fractures and a severe concussion in Rio. Her victory means a Dutch rider has won the race in three of the last four years.

The previous three editions of La Course took place on the final Sunday of the Tour de France, with a sprint on the Champs-Élysées, but the organisers introduced a new format this year. On Thursday, riders raced a 67km mountain stage from Briançon to the top of the fearsome Col d’Izoard. The top finishers from Thursday qualified for a 22.5km pursuit-style individual time trial in Marseille on Saturday.

Related: Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course stage one with Lizzie Deignan second

Related: Lizzie Deignan critical of La Course format after Van Vleuten’s easy win

Related: Condoms, chicks and La Course: the Tour de France still has a sexism problem

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