La Course by Le Tour goes up the Col d’Izoard
La Course by Le Tour de France took on its new format on Thursday by finishing up the Col d’Izoard. In contrast to racing on the Champs-Élysées the past three years, the race went from Briançon to Izoard over 67.5 kilometres.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (12th) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (17th) both finished inside the top 20 which ensures entry into Saturday’s pursuit race in Marseilles. Annemiek van Vlueten was the stage winner, crossing the line solo.
Moolman-Pasio returned to racing after falling ill during the Giro Rosa. After taking time off the bike to recover, she said she was unsure what to expect today.
“It was a good race with great support,” Moolman-Pasio said. “Being at the Tour de France is something new for me having never done La Course before. It was a great atmosphere and the race was very well organised. I’m still paying the price for the virus I picked up at the Giro. I came into the race not knowing what to expect. I’m not happy with my performance but I’m also not too disappointed and trying to keep perspective. Cille is very happy with her performance, a top 20 is great for her and picking up more points for the young rider jersey.”
The South African time trial champion continued: “I have mixed feelings because it still feels like we’re a sideshow to the men but we had live TV coverage which was amazing and the support on the roads were incredible. I think it was great exposure for women’s cycling, I would have liked to be in better condition to represent the team up front but it wasn’t really in favour of me being in the best form today.”
The first 20 riders from today qualified for the pursuit race on Saturday. They will start according to time incurred on the finish line today.
“Saturday will be a first time experience for me. We start at the time gaps as we crossed the finish line today. It will be interesting because there will be riders who were closer together and drafting is allowed so it’s an interesting concept and a whole new experience. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.”