Lizzie Deignan timed her move to perfection to power past Marianne Vos to win the seventh edition of La Course, a 96-km two-lap circuit that started and finished in Nice, following a thrilling sprint finish on Saturday.
A lead group of Vos (CCC - LIV), Deignan (Trek-Segafredo), Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram Racing), and Demi Vollering (Parkhotel Valkenburg) emerged during the second ascent of the category 3 Côte de Rimiez and stayed together all the way into Nice.
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A series of attacks and counter-attacks ensued in the last 3km, but could not separate the riders - leaving it to Deignan and Vos to battle it out, and it was the British rider who won by the smallest of margins.

Deignan powers past Vos to win La Course

Deignan, who lives in Monaco, said ahead of the race she had hoped to take advantage of ‘home’ knowledge of the circuit, and so it proved, timing her move to perfection – with a some help from Trek-Segafredo team-mate Longo Borghini - to add to an already impressive palmares.
Longo Borghini drew out Vos in the final sprint, forcing the two-time winner to go early, and thus allowing Deignan to power through in a time of 02:22:51. Vollering finished third.
“It was just a relief that I won it," said Deignan after the race.
What a performance from Trek-Segafredo today, every single rider played their part, then me and Elisa only had to wait for the finale and she did the perfect job, forcing Marianne to sprint early and I took advantage of that.
Pre-race the course was considered to favour punchers, and a fierce pace strung out the peloton over the course of the first lap, as the favourites raced from the gun but it was more or less back together ahead of the second lap.
Reigning world road race champion Van Vleuten attacked ahead of the second ascent of the Côte de Rimiez, with Deignan on her wheel, some 43km out. The lead group was whittled down to six as it crested the climb, with Vos, Longo Borghini, Niewiadoma and Vollering joining Deignan and Van Vleuten ahead of the 30km run into Nice.
Deignan attacked a spent-looking world champion as the select group began its descent, with the Brit rider, Niewiadoma and Vos opening a mini-gap over Vollering, Longo Borghini and Van Vleuten as the group exited the decent. The leaders came back together on the 21km-flat run into Nice, holding a minute-and-a-half advantage over the chase group led by Team Sunweb duo Leah Kirchmann and Liane Lippert.
However, the elite six-woman lead group contained two former world road race champions in Deignan and Vos, the current world road race champion and former time-trial world champion in Van Vleuten, and they distanced the chase group as the race entered its last 10km, resulting in a likely bunch sprint finish.
And so it proved with Deignan denying Vos a hat-trick of La Course wins.
La Course by Le Tour, featuring the cream of women's professional cycling, is the curtain-raiser for the Tour de France which starts later on Saturday in Nice.
The women are still without a multi-stage Tour de France of their own, although support is growing to start one possibly as early as 2022.
With additional reporting from Reuters
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