Brutal Conditions for the Women at La Course by Tour de France
The Women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team take on the wet cobbles of Paris for La Course by Le Tour de France.
The second annual La Course went down on Sunday morning on the famed streets surrounding the Champs-Élysées in central Paris, France. Following great success at the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt, the team was confident in supporting their sprinting stars, Coryn Rivera and Hannah Barnes.
The teams were met by unrelenting rain on the start line, creating some of the most challenging conditions the professional peloton will see this season. The unseasonal weather and cobbled surface turned the fast and swooping circuit into a mission to stay upright over the slick, tight turns. As expected in such high-caliber racing, no holds were barred at the start, and attacks flew from the moment the race began. The fast pace led to a large crash on the second lap, taking down a number of UnitedHealthcare riders. With teamwork, and three laps of hard riding, Coryn Rivera and Cari Higgins rejoined the pack. More crashes followed, with Katie Hall hitting the ground twice in the space of a couple laps. With chaos filling the peloton, the Team UnitedHealthcare women regrouped around Rivera, but a final crash 1.5 km from the finish held up the riders, precluding their chance to launch their famous UnitedHealthcare Blue Train lead out.
Despite the unfortunate events, the riders emerged from the race without serious injuries, and found positive experiences in the race. “Today was an epic race, the race is already over a historic parcours and the conditions made it an even more memorable one,” said Rushlee Buchanan. Katie Hall, who crashed three times during the race, was also positive looking back over the day, “With the rain and the cobbles, it could have put people off and turned into into a negative race, but it didn’t, everyone raced full gas, it was race on right from lap one.”
With notable talent, determination, and speed, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is quickly becoming known as one of the most tenacious teams on the women’s circuit. The conditions on Sunday morning will only improve their riding and add to their experience as a tight-knit squad. Sporting director Rachel Heal was proud of the way the team rode, “The conditions were brutal, and between them they crashed eight times, but every time they got back up and fought their way back into the race. Given how focused and motivated the girls were for today, it’s frustrating to have a day dictated by bad luck, but that’s bike racing!”