La Course: Anna van der Breggen wins amid carnage on women's race

The women’s race was marred by crashes

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A daring, late, lone breakaway led Dutch national time-trial champion Anna van der Breggen to win yesterday’s crash-marred La Course race, the one-day event held on the Champs-Elysées just hours before the last stage of the Tour de France.

The Rabo-Liv rider zipped away in the last of 13 laps, six kilometres from the finish, and despite never opening up a gap of more than a few hundred metres, she managed to fend off a much-reduced bunch to claim an impressive solo win by just one second.

Having crashed here last year, British national champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) stayed out of trouble to claim a fine fourth place. Van der Breggen’s team-mate, world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, was not so lucky. The leading local favourite fell less than a kilometre from the line in exactly the same spot where she had crashed last year.

With the official start given by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the wet, slippery conditions and absence of last year’s winner, Marianne Vos, meant the 89-kilometre La Course proved to be a difficult race to control, despite the best efforts of leading Australian outfit Orica-AIS.

Crashes marred the entire race, from 10 kilometres through to the final pile-up on the last right-hand bend into the Rue de Rivoli – almost in sight of the finish, making it all but impossible for the bunch to recoup its losses on Van der Breggen. Jolien D’Hoore of Wiggle Honda was second and Liv-Plantur’s Amy Pieters finished third.