Hall finishes top ten at La Course
LE GRAND BORNARD, France – Flanked by high mountains and some of the best riders in the world, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling lined up for one of the toughest day races on the world tour calendar, La Course.
Thomas earns most combative prizeClick here for the 2018 La Course Photo Gallery
The team’s plan was to try to get Leah Thomas or Rushlee Buchanan in a break, and then for the others to protect Katie Hall until they hit the penultimate climb.
The race was fairly fast and aggressive from the start. Lauretta Hanson came down in a crash just 1 kilometer into the race, but was unhurt and quickly rejoined the peloton.
From there, a few moves went up the road, but nothing stuck until after the second climb when Thomas got away in a move of four. The break worked well together and built up a maximum lead of 2 minutes and 15 seconds by the time they hit the base of the category 1 Col de Romme. After the 8.8 kilometre climb started, riders started to lose contact with the break, and eventually Thomas rode clear, earning herself the prize for most aggressive rider of the day (combative prize).
Cecilie Ludwig (Cervelo Bigla) attacked from a reduced bunch, caught and passed Thomas before the top of the Col de Romme and went ahead solo.
The climb took its toll, and the peloton shrunk in size with each kilometer. A group of around 15 riders went over the top of the Col de Romme, including Hall.
On Col de la Colombiere the group reduced still further to about 10 riders. Anna van de Breggen, eventual winner Annemiek Van Vleuten and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio attacked, and rode away from the rest. Hall wasn’t able to follow the acceleration, but finished strongly in the chasing group, netting seventh place among the best climbers in the world.
“Overall the team raced really well,” team director Rachel Heal said. “We were a significant part of the race, and showed that we are competitive at the world tour level.”
After a quick transfer up north, the team is currently racing the Belgian and Dutch BeNe Ladies Tour race.