Hosted by the organisers of the men’s Tour de France, the women’s race is prestigious by default as it presents a platform for the female peloton to show their talents to a large audience.

The 2018 course will be a variation of the men’s stage 10 route, featuring 112 km from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand.

Following a flat start along the shores of Lake Annecy, the peloton will begin a short warm up climb, Col de Bluffy, which is 3 km at an average gradient of 4.4%. From the top there is barely any descent as the road continues to climb all the way to the second GPM, Côte de Saint-Jean-de-Sixt. After 6.7 km at 4.3%, the peloton will crest this climb before a long descent into Bonneville.

At 75 km into the race, the real action will begin. Here teams will send their climbers on their way as they hit the first steep inclines of Col de Romme.

This will be a brutal climb for 8.8 km at an average gradient of 9%. But the battle will not be over at the crest. From there the race leaders will have only a brief respite as they descend 5 km to the base of the the final climb, Col de la Colombière. This will be another 7.5 km ascent at 8.5%, before the race descend the final 12 km to the finish line in Le Grand-Bornand.

Riders to watch

Most teams will bring their same riders who have just finished the Giro Rosa, a brutal 10-day stage race in Italy. It’s likely that the riders who performed well in Italy will also be top contenders at La Course.

There’s no doubt that Annemiek Van Vlueten (Mitchelton-Scott) will be hard to beat. Not only did she win the Giro Rosa with a tally of 3 stage wins, she was also last year’s winner at La Course.

Other riders who have demonstrated their form during the Giro Rosa and will definitely be up amongst the action on the climbs include Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla), Australian Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott), Lucinda Brand (TeamSunWeb) and Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans).

Australians to follow

There will be a number of Australians lining up for La Course with fresh legs. In particular, watch out for TIBCO-SVB duo Brodie Chapman (@brodie_mai) and current Australian champion Shannon Malseed (@shannonmalseed).

Wiggle High5 will be bringing a fresh squad, including two Australians Macey Stewart (@maceystewart) and Grace Brown (@gbrown321). And representing UHC team will be Lauretta Hansen (@retta.hanson).

Straight from the Giro, we can continue to cheer on FDJ rider Shara Gillow (@sharagillow) and the dominant Mitchelton-Scott squad, including Amanda Spratt (@amandaspratt87), Sarah Roy (@sar_roy), Jenelle Crooks (@jccrooks), Jess Allen (@jessallen1993) and Gracie Elvin (@gracieelvin).

Follow the action

Live coverage on Eurosport and SBS Viceland from 11.30 CET (19.30 AEST)

Twitter: @LaCoursebyTDF & @UCI_WWT

#LaCourse #UCIWWT