La Course is one of the most significant races in the Women’s WorldTour calendar. Produced by the organisers of the Tour de France, this event has taken several forms since it was launched in 2014.
This year, the event takes place on Friday 19 July in Pau, and the stage is a one-day 121km race.
History of La Course
La Course was launched by Tour de France organisers the ASO in 2014 after a campaign, by a rider-led group called Le Tour Entier, for a women’s version of the Tour de France.
While the campaign for a full-length multistage tour for female riders continues, La Course has become one of the most high-profile events on the Women’s WorldTour calendar.
The first three editions of the race, in 2014, 2015 and 2016, took the form of a crit race around the Champs-Élysées route, just ahead of the arrival of the men’s Tour de France finish.
In 2017, the format changed to a two-day stage race with the first stage finishing on the Col d’Izoard. The top 20 finishers from the first day, or those within five minutes of the stage winner, were then able to take part in stage two, a 22.5km pursuit in Marseille.
The 2018 the format changed again to a one-day race covering the same 118km as stage ten of Tour de France from Duingt to Le Grand Bornand, and was run ahead of the men’s race.
2019 La Course
The sixth edition of La Course will see a different format again, with the riders of the pro-women’s peloton tackling five loops of a circular time-trial course based out of Pau, near the Pyrenees in south-west France.
The Tour de France will also be in Pau later that day for Stage 13, an individual time-trial with one loop of the 27km circular route.
La Course will be run ahead of Le Tour with riders setting off at 9:20am local time, and finishing at around 12:45.
Twenty teams will take part in La Course for 2019:
- Alé Cipollini
- Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
- BTC City Ljubjana
- Canyon//SRAM racing
- Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team
- Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport
- FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitane Futuroscope
- Lotto Soudal Ladies
- Mitchelton Scott
- Movistar Team Women
- Parkhotel Valkenburg
- Rally UHC Cycling
- Team Sunweb
- Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
- Team Virtu Cycling
- Valcar Cyclance Cycling
- WNT Rotor Pro Cycling Team
Annemiek van Vleuten of Mitchelton Scott has won the last two editions of the race, and is just off the back of her victory at the Giro Rosa, which took place just before La Course from 5–14 July. Could that impact her chances of success in France?
2019 La Course route
The 2019 edition of La Course will see the riders complete five laps of a 27km course in and around Pau.
The course is undulating and will favour the puncheurs in the peloton: riders who specialise in rolling terrain with short, steep climbs.
The ASO states this is to balance out previous editions of the race, with the criterium race in the Champs Élysées favouring sprinters and the mountainous events in 2017 and 2018 favouring climbers.
There are two inclines that are particularly noteworthy: the Cote de Gelos and the Cote d’Esquillot.
The Cote de Gelos is a 1.1km climb with a 7.8 percent gradient and the Cote d’Esquillot, which may be the more decisive hill of the two, consists of a short, sharp climb with the pinnacle at 16km in, near the mid-way mark of the race.
From there it’s mostly downhill back to the centre of Pau and the start of the next lap.
How can I watch La Course live?
Race fans around the world can expect good coverage for 2019 according to the La Course website, which lists 18 broadcasters who will be streaming the event.
The following broadcasters in each country streaming the race are:
- France TV Sport – France
- TV2 – Denmark
- Rai Sport – Italy
- Eurosport EU – Europe
- Supersport – Sub-Saharan Africa
- SBS – Australia
- RTBF – Belgium
- TV2 Norway – Norway
- NOS – Netherlands
- Universal HD – United States
- ESPN – Latin America and the Caribbean
- VRT – Belgium
- TV4 Sport – Sweden
- Eurosport Asia – South East Asia
- NBC Sports – United States
- Sky Sport – New Zealand
- Sportsnet – Canada
- ITV 4 – UK
- CCTV – China
- Senal Colombia – Colombia
How can I follow La Course if I can’t watch live coverage?
Follow La Course by Le Tour de France Twitter account for live updates from the race and information on team selection in the run up to race day.