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Womens race organized by ASO to return to circuit race format after several years experimenting with different options, leaving reigning world champion frustrated.

Tour de Franceorganizers ASO revealed Tuesday that womens raceLa Coursewould return to Paris in 2020. The one-day event will take place over 13 laps of the French capital in a race totaling 90km.

After three years of hosting La Course in locations around France, with racing taking place in the same location and date as a stage of the Tour de France, the womens race returns to the Champs-lyses for the first time since 2016.

The seventh edition of La Course by Le Tour de France powered by FDJ will take the worlds elite back to the Champs-lyses, where it all began with Marianne Vos sprinting to the win in 2014, ASO announced.

The race has been provisionally scheduled for July 10. That day will see the mens race several hundred kilometers south, taking on a tough mountainous day in the Massif Central. Race organizers ASO are still considering moving womens race La Course to July 19, to coincide with the final stage of the Tour de France, also in Paris.

There may be some raised eyebrows at the return of La Course to a flat city center circuit format after several years of trialing different formats and locations.

Newly-crowned world championAnnemiek van Vleuten(Mitchelton-Scott), who won mountainous editions of La Course in 2017 and 2018, expressed her disappointment to Dutch websiteWeilerlits.It is now nothing more than a criterium, said the Dutch rider.

La Course experimented with a two-day race in 2017, with the second stage finishing on top of the Col dIzoard on the same day as the mens race took on the mountain. 2018 saw the race return to a one-day format, taking riders through the Alps in a finale identical to that used by the mens race later in the same day. The2019 race in Pau, won byMarianne Vos, stuck to the one-day format that coincided with the mens race in the same location.

This is a step back, said van Vleuten. It is now nothing more than a criterium, while it is still known as a WorldTour competition. I do not want to fully preach for my own parish, there are sprinters who think this is a fun race, but I will not drive it.

With the growing increase in womens racing and popularity of stage races such as theGiro Rosain Italy and the OVO Womens Tour in the UK, ASO revealed toReutersin July we are setting up a cell to develop womens cycling within ASO.

The Tour de France organizers are still ruling out the possibility of a womens Tour de France coinciding with the mens event however.

We cannot have a womens Tour de France at the same moment as the mens Tour because it would be logistically impossible, ASO toldReuters. The Tour has grown so much and is so big that having two races at the same time would not be feasible.

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VeloNews magazine will bring you inside the sport of bike racing, with exclusive features, analysis, expert training advice, unbiased gear reviews and the absolute best cycling photography.

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