• Marianne Vos celebrates her hard fought victory at the 2019 La Course in Pau (Getty)Source: Getty
The best riders in the world will line up for the seventh edition of La Course, the spotlight feature for women's cycling that will act as the curtain-raiser for this year's Tour de France.
By
SBS Cycling Central

27 Aug 2020 - 10:09 AM 

Watch La Course LIVE streaming via SBS On Demand from 6pm (AEST) on Saturday August 29, and on SBS from 7.30pm (AEST). 

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Cycling is a sponsor-driven sport, and the exposure offered by La Course is the biggest on offer for women's racing.

It's also great racing, check out the finish to the 2018 race in the video player above as evidence of that!

Australian Chloe Hosking's win back in 2016 still ranks as one of the best in her career alongside Commonwealth Games gold, and other elite stars of the women's peloton all have claimed victories, Marianne Vos winning two editions, Annemiek van Vleuten two and Anna van der Breggen one. 

Who's the boss: Vos wins in Pau
Marianne Vos snatched victory from Amanda Spratt 400m from the line, powering past the Australian on the final right hand bend up the tough kick in Pau to take out this year's edition of La Course.
Reactions to blockbuster La Course finish
It was a nail-biting finish at La Course, with Annemiek van Vleuten overtaking Anna van der Breggen within the shadow of the finishing banner to win.

The race is a moveable event, and this year will be contested around a hilly 96-kilometre course in Nice to complement the start of the men's race from the southern French city. 

It looks like a sprinter's type of race, but two ascents of the Côte de Rimiez, 5.8 kilometres of climbing at 5.1 per cent, should make the race a bit too hard for the pure sprinters in the peloton, and maybe provide a springboard for attackers.

With the climb summiting 31.5 kilometres from the finish line, it appears like it will take a top-tier effort for the climbers to hold off a chasing group into the flat sprint in Nice.  

The Contenders

Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott)

Reigning world champion, Annemiek van Vleuten's major success has come in the latter part of her careeer after coming to the sport relatively late. The 37-year-old also overcame serious injury at the Rio Olympic Games and she hasn't looked back. 

The Dutchwoman has been a class above the rest of the women's peloton since the season restart this year, winning the several races including the WorldTour race Strade Bianche in a dominant streak.

She's come off the boil since then, second behind van der Breggen in the Netherlands national championships and then caught in a bad spot during the GP de Plouay and unable to make up the difference to runaway winner Lizzie Deignan. The race doesn't suit her abilities, but she's the class rider and it would be folly to suggest it's impossible for her to win.

Chloe Hosking (Rally Cycling) 

The 29-year-old Australian star sprinter has a great chance at adding to her win back in 2016 on the Champs Élysées in Paris. It's a course that should suit the Canberran, as she's added a bit more climbing ability to her repertoire to be able to compete at the Olympics in Tokyo. 

With 34 career victories, she's still got a formidable sprint for the line, and should be able to hang on to the main peloton over the top of the Côte de Rimiez.

In the negative column, it's her first race back after the season restart. But she started the season off with a bang for new team Rally Cycling, winning Stage 1 of the women's Tour Down Under.

Hosking already targeting Tokyo gold
Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini) is renowned as mercurial off the bike and a fierce competitor on it and that looks unlikely to change as she attempts to adapt her riding style and strengths to racing at the Olympics for Tokyo 2020.
Australia's Chloe Hosking victorious on cycling's biggest stage
Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5) became just the third Australian to win on the Champs-Elysses in history when she claimed victory in the 2016 La Course by Le Tour de France.

Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) 

Vos is one of the living legends of cycling. If it's got two wheels, she can master it. She is multiple world champion on the road, track and cyclo-cross. And she is still only 33-years-old. 

Vos is also the defending champion of La Course. But she is not in quite the red-hot form she brought into last year's edition, but she'll certainly be one of the first over the top of the climb, and then one of the fastest in the sprint.

Sixth at Strade Bianche and fourth at the Netherlands championships isn't a bad build-up for this race. One of the living legends of the sport, she'll benefit from an attacking edition, and has a strong team to support her.

Lorena Wiebes (Team Sunweb)

The best rider in the world by UCI rankings last year, Wiebes isn't currently on the Sunweb team list for the race, but it would still be a surprise if she was left out. The best sprinter in the world at just 21 years of age, Wiebes created controversy earlier in the year when she tried to break her contract and leave the Parkhotel Valkenberg squad. Eventually a compromise was struck which allowed Wiebes to move to Team Sunweb mid-season.

She's a superb sprinter, and will be the favourite if it comes down to a bunch sprint. 

Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans)

Van der Breggen has been up in the conversation as one of the best riders in the world for years now and will want to stamp her dominance back on the sport before her planned retirement next season. She's not suited to this course, but she wasn't the pick going into the 2015 edition either and still managed to fight off the field on a day meant for sprinters.

The Dutch star is coming in with brilliant form, having demolished the field at the Netherlands national championships and having just won the European time trial title. She'll certainly go on the attack at some point.

Marta Bastianelli (Ale BTC Ljubljana)

Bastianelli is one of those riders who has been around seemingly forever in the women's peloton but is still only 33 despite debuting in 2006. Very fast in a bunch sprint and one of the best at positioning herself before launching her final effort. 

Aussies on show

Apart from Hosking, there are a host of Australians taking to the startline.

Australian WorldTour team Mitchelton-Scott has the largest contingent, with Sarah Roy, Jessica Allen, Grace Brown and Gracie Elvin likely to ride aggressively in support of van Vleuten.

Brown, in particular, has shown she is in very good form coming into the race with Roy also an outside chance at a good result as the team's likely sprinter.

The ultra-aggressive Brodie Chapman (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitane Futuroscope) is likely to be sighted at some point on the attack.

While Lauretta Hanson (Trek-Segafredo) and Shannon Malseed (Tibco-SVB) will be working for team leaders throughout the race.