OTLEY’S Lizzie Armitstead was content after finishing fourth as Anna van der Breggen held off a charging peloton to win the second edition of La Course by Le Tour.
A daring solo escape saw Dutchwoman Van der Breggen (RaboLiv) triumph in the women’s race which precedes the final stage of the men’s Tour de France, which was punctuated by crashes and took place in torrential rain.
Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) was fourth, with Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle Honda) second and Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur) third.
“Anna made the perfect move at the right time,” Armitstead said.
“She has the French world champion (Pauline Ferrand-Prevot) and the teams watched her instead. Credit to Anna.
“We really missed Ellen van Dijk in the end. She had a bad crash and she would have been able to close that.
“I felt very comfortable all day. I wasn’t really under pressure and I was happy to stay up front.
“I’m disappointed in my sprint. I thought I would have had more. I’m sure it will come back.”
Armitstead had been hoping to to banish the memories of the inaugural La Course by Le Tour, which was won by Marianne Vos, when she was barged into the barriers and crashed out of contention.
She was satisfied to come through the race unscathed.
“(It was) very dangerous,” Armitstead said.
“I’m just happy I’ve come away not like last year. We had a few crashes in the team but I think everyone’s okay.”
Chris Froome, meanwhile, yesterday won the Tour de France for a second time after a ceremonial final stage in Paris.
Froome’s defence of the 2013 title ended with a broken hand and fractured wrist 12 months ago, but the Team Sky leader responded to win the 102nd Tour by one minute 12 seconds from Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Andre Greipel won the 21st and final stage on the Champs-Elysees – his fourth stage success of the race – as Mark Cavendish was squeezed out of contention.
A crash in the final kilometre fractured the peloton and Froome’s Team Sky squad rolled over the line together to celebrate a third Tour title for the British squad in four years.
Froome secured the yellow jersey despite Quintana’s late attack to Alpe-d’Huez on Saturday, which left the 30-year-old Kenya-born Briton clinging on.
The 109.5-kilometres concluding stage from Sevres to the Champs-Elysees is traditionally a procession and saw Froome sip champagne and pose for photographs with his team-mates.
The only trouble Froome encountered on a memorable day was when a paper bag became caught on his bike, requiring a change, on the penultimate lap of the Champs-Elysees.
He finished well behind Greipel, whose dominance of the sprints continued, but it mattered not as Froome celebrated overall victory.