CANYON//SRAM Racing announce its roster for the biggest one-day race on the women’s calendar, La Course by Le Tour on Thursday 20 July. Boasting a new striking team design across clothing and equipment Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand-Prévot will lead her teammates to the start line in Briançon. Italian duo Elena Cecchini and Barbara Guarischi, American riders Alexis Ryan and Leah Thorvilson and Australian Tiffany Cromwell complete the team’s strong roster.
There has been much discussion about the new format of the 2017 La Course by Le Tour, this year shifting from a circuit race on the Champs Élysées to a 67km race to a summit finish on col d’Izoard in the French Alps. After shining a spotlight on the climbers of the women’s peloton on Thursday, the top 20 riders then race a second stage, a new pursuit-style time trial on Saturday 22 July in Marseille.
Team Manager Ronny Lauke believes the new format has been a positive move for women’s cycling. “ASO brings all teams onto a brilliant stage to showcase women’s cycling in one of the most challenging topographic areas in France and with the best athletes competing at the pursuit event after in Marseille I believe it will show the beauty of the sport and create further interest to women’s cycling.”
Ferrand-Prévot is excited about the new format. “For sure racing La Course in Paris on the Champs Élysées was really special for me, but the race didn’t suit me really well. Now with this new race and the finish in top of col d’Izoard you have to be in really good shape. You can’t lie!”
Fresh off defending her French MTB title, Ferrand-Prévot adds “I’m feeling better and better every week. The short and intensive format of La Course will be perfect for me. It’s exactly how I’ve been training with all of the MTB training since the end of April. We have a strong team coming and I really think we can do something special there.”
Despite missing climber Alena Amialiusik who is still recovering from a broken pelvis, the team agrees it can perform on the summit finish.
“Even though we’ve lost Alena one of our strongest climbers, we have cards to play. A possible early break will put extra riders up the road before the climb and the victory is all to play for from there. Pauline is coming back into form after some bad luck, and being on home soil she’ll have extra motivation to perform strongly so she will be a strong card and also Elena. I think we need to go into the race and just race our bikes, work strongly together and look after our climbers for as long as possible before they go off and dance up the climb to the top,” said Cromwell.
The team will race a striking new design for La Course by Le Tour. Across the Canyon bikes, Rapha clothing, Oakley eyewear, Giro helmets and Boa dials, the design is inspired by the Rapha Women’s 100, an annual event designed to inspire and encourage women to ride 100km on the same day across the globe. And the team’s riders cannot contain their excitement:
Alexis Ryan: “The special edition kit will bring a unique level of attention from the cycling community to an already-unique, high-profile women’s race. The design itself will bring an element of grace to the slopes of the Col d’Izoard.”
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot: “I really love the new kit and it’s a great idea to do something special for such a famous race. We want women who ride the Rapha Women’s 100 on Sunday to feel like they are a part of our La Course race on Thursday. In one race, on one day we will show two of our best qualities simultaneously: strength and beauty.”
Tiffany Cromwell: “I think it’s awesome. I love the design and what Rapha has created, it’s striking and flattering all at the same time and like nothing else that we see in the peloton. I’m super excited to be racing this bike and kit, the whole outfit. It’s a great opportunity to use the global exposure to help inspire more women to ride bikes, challenge themselves and let them feel like they’re a part of something pretty amazing.”
La Course by Le Tour starts in Briançon on 20 Thursday 20 July and action can be followed with #LaCourse and #UCIWWT.