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  La Course by Le Tour de France Preview  
  La Course returns after a successful first edition in 2014. Defending Champion Marianne Vos will miss the race with injury but there is no shortage of sprinters. Kirsten Wild will be looking to reassert her dominance while the on form Jolien D'hoore is joined by the likes of Lizzie Armitstead, Giorgia Bronzini, Elena Cecchini, Barbara Guarischi, Melissa Hoskins, Lucy Garner and Hannah Barnes among others looking for the win.

2014 Results

1 Marianne VOS
2 Kirsten WILD +0
5 Shelley OLDS +0
6 Coryn RIVERA +0
7 Jolien D'HOORE +0
9 Simona FRAPPORTI +0
10 Roxane FOURNIER +0

Past Winners

2014 Marianne Vos

The Route

One of the most famous pieces of road in cycling. 13 laps of the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

The Contenders

Start list available here

Kirsten Wild

With a renewed focus on the track ahead of Rio we have seen less of Kirsten Wild on the road this year. Finished second last year with only Marianne Vos able to beat her in the sprint. When on form Wild is very difficult to beat. Has taken nine victories this year with the most recent the final stage of Tour de Bretagne Féminin last weekend. Despite the win it is hard to know what her form is like due to the lack of big name sprinters at the race. Expect Wild to want to reassert herself as the dominant womens sprinter but with a number of rising stars she will have to be on her best. Can count on strong support from Lauren Kitchen.

Leah Kirchmann

Kirchmann rounded out the podium last year in third behind Marianne Vos and Kirsten Wild beating out a number of better known sprinters. The former Canadian Champion spends a lot of time riding in North America and has won stages at Joe Martin Stage Race and the Tour of California this year. Is by no means a pure sprinter as she can climb and time trial very well as well. Looked strong at the BeNe Ladies Tour finishing second in the time trial. Didn't start the final stage so might come in a little fresher than the likes of Jolien D'hoore. It will be hard to repeat her podium performance but don't discount her.

Jolien D'hoore and Giorgia Bronzini

Wiggle Honda brings their strong sprint line up and something to consider is that there are several riders missing that could easily be put in a sprint train. With D'hoore and Bronzini as two of the quickest sprinters in the peloton and a team that includes Chloe Hosking, Nettie Edmondson, Emilia Fahlin and Audrey Cordon they will be the team to watch.

D'hoore finished seventh last year but returns even quicker and with a much stronger sprint squad at her disposal. Has been consistent since February and that is including time on the track. Has eight wins this year plus two more in the form of the time trial and overall at the BeNe Ladies Tour last weekend where she also took two road stages. Is the in form rider and will be hard to beat in a sprint.

Wiggle also has two time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini but Bronzini hasn't seemed at her usual level this year and has often ridden in support of others. Won Acht van Westerveld in March and the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in May and will no doubt want to win here but with a storming D'hoore is more likely to play a support role again.

Barbara Guarischi and Lisa Brennauer

A new team for Barbara Guarischi and it has delivered her the biggest win of her career a stage at the Giro Rosa. Has had numerous other podium finishes this year including second behind Jolien D'hoore on stage one of the Energiewacht Tour. If Guarischi is well positioned for the sprint will be very dangerous but often finds herself too far back.

Generally thought of as a time trialist but Brennauer can do so much more. Nearly completed the triple last year when she also claimed silver in the road race at the World Championships. Not really a sprinter but her finish this year has been competitive with some of the best. Finished in the top six on every stage of The Women's Tour including winning stage four ahead of the likes of Johansson, Barnes and D'hoore. Keep an eye on Trixi Worrack as well.

Melissa Hoskins and Emma Johansson

After a difficult start to the season when nothing seemed to go their way Orica-AIS have for the most part turned things around. Team Pursuit World Champion Melissa Hoskins will race her second last race with the squad and will be looking to go out on a high note. Missed Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt with illness so how she is going is a big question. When on top form Hoskins can compete with the best of them and beat Giorgia Bronzini twice back in January.

If Hoskins is yet to recover fully then the team has the always consistent Emma Johansson. Broke her collarbone at Novilon Eurocup but was back less than three weeks later and finished a very impressive 13th at Ronde van Vlaanderen. Not a pure sprinter but is capable of fighting for a podium spot. Her increased strength on the climbs seems to have cost her a bit of speed but if there is a rider you should never discount it is Johansson.

Lizzie Armitstead

Regained the British National title but Armitstead would likely prefer a much hillier route. Can sprint but her finishing speed seems to go up and down quite a bit. Came out flying with two stages and the overall in Qatar but most of her wins since have been over hilly parcours. Won the opening stage of the Women's Tour in a sign that when on form she can beat the best. Spent the Giro working for her teammates and with the significance of the event expect to see Armitstead sprinting at her best.

Lucy Garner

The dual Junior World Champion had a number of injury issues earlier in the year but has put them behind her and is returning to the level that earned her a win at the Tour of Chongming Island in 2013. Took a podium finish at the Women's Tour and most recently won the bunch sprint for second on the final stage of the BeNe Ladies Tour after one rider stayed away solo. It is one of her big targets for the year and with the form she is in will be challenging for the podium. Backed by a strong team including Amy Pieters who could be a contender in her own right and Sara Mustonen.

Hannah Barnes and Coryn Rivera

Much has been spoken of the talent of Hannah Barnes and she took her first big breakthrough winning the final stage of the Women's Tour. The 22 year old continues to get better and that win against many of the best will have given here a great deal of confidence.

Coryn Rivera is another name to watch for UnitedHealthcare and finished sixth in the inaugural additional last year. A regular winner in the United States and took the biggest win of her career from a break on stage five of the Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen this past week. The combination of Barnes and Rivera make a dangerous combination and whomever they sprint for the other teams will need to watch them carefully.

Amy Cure and Elena Cecchini

We have seen little of Amy Cure on the road this year due to track commitments. Comes in to the race off the back of a six week track training camp with the Australian National team in the Netherlands. Missed the race last year due to the track programme at the Commonwealth Games where she picked up medals in the individual pursuit and scratch race. If Cure comes in with good form can be fighting for a podium spot.

Successfully defended the Italian Championship on a course that didn't really suit her and will again go up against the best sprinters in the world. Is very consistent and won a stage at Festival Luxembourgeois Elsy Jacobs and two podium finishers at the Giro Rosa. Her climbing has improved but her speed seems to have suffered for it. Finished third overall at BeNe Ladies Tour last weekend but that was in part due to making the four rider break on stage one.

Roxane Fournier

A rising French sprinter took the win at Grand Prix de Dottignies in April but winning the final stage of the Tour of Chongming Island is her most important win to date. Knowing she has beaten the likes of Bronzini and Wild should give her confidence. Last weekend won the bunch sprint on the final stage of Tour de Bretagne Féminin (Wild won as part of a break) in a sign she is on decent form.

Shelley Olds and Annalisa Cucinotta

Alé Cipollini is a team that regularly puts multiple riders in the top 10 but often struggles to convert their strong sprinting squad in to race wins. The one exception of the team is Annalisa Cucinotta who surprised a bit taking the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar. Has continued to produce results and picked up an impressive stage win at the Giro Rosa beating some bigger names on stage four.

Shelley Olds has moved back to the team after spending the first half of the season with Bigla. While Olds is always consistent she struggles to convert her consistency in to wins. Has been on good form picking up wins at BC Superweek in Canada but this is another test. Olds finished fifth last year but in terms of speed Cucinotta might be the better candidate for the win.

Lucinda Brand and Rabo

Without Marianne Vos the options of Rabo in a sprint are limited so expect to see them on the attack to try and make a selection giving Lucinda Brand a better chance. Comes in having won the Dutch National Championships and two stages of the Giro Rosa, both from breaks. Results will show she beat Wild on a stage at the Energiewacht Tour but that was down to Brand getting the jump.

Lotta Lepisto and Bigla

Not a name you might immediately think of for a big bunch sprint but the champion of Finland Lotta Lepisto comes in with arguably the best form of her career. Five top five finishes including a stage win ahead of Emma Johansson at the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt. The task of beating the top sprinters on a flat course is another challenge compared to the rolling terrain in Germany but a top 10 would be a strong result. You can be all but certain that Vera Koedooder will be off the front at some point, while Canadian Champion Joëlle Numainville is another name to watch for a top 10 finish.

Other names to watch: Amy Pieters, Pascale Jeuland, Kim De Baat, Sofie De Vuyst, Kelly Druyts, Lucy Martin and Christina Siggaard.
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