July 17, 2018 / 2:35 PM / 10 months ago

Van Vleuten retains La Course by Le Tour title

Cycling - 5th La Course by Le Tour de France - 112.5-km from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand - July 17, 2018 - Mitchelton-Scott rider Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands wins the race ahead of Boels-Dolmans rider Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

LE GRAND BORNAND, France, July 17 (Reuters) - Annemiek van Vleuten followed up on her Giro Rosa victory when she prevailed in the one-day La Course by Le Tour race for the second year in a row on Tuesday, crossing the line first in Le Grand Bornand hours before the men’s Tour de France stage 10 finish.

The Dutchwoman, who wrapped up her Tour of Italy title on Sunday, still had the strongest legs as she chased down Olympic champion and compatriot Anna van der Breggen after being dropped in the last climb up the Col de la Colombiere.

Mitchelton Scott rider Van Vleuten reined in Van der Breggen on the final descent and won the two-woman sprint.

“It was unbelievable. With 300 meters to go I still thought I would get second and then I saw her dying. To win like this...it was a tough ride, but beautiful`,” Van Vleuten said.

“The gap going into the descent was really small and Anna is also a really good descender, but I always keep believing and keep on thinking that anything is possible and never give up. That was really important today.

“This win is really beautiful, the second time at La Course and especially coming only two days after winning the Giro Rosa, but to win this race in this way is really special and high up on my list of memorable wins.”

South African Ashleigh Moolman, second overall in the July 6-15 Giro Rosa, took third place, one minute 22 seconds off the pace.

Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Ed Osmond

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