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Demi Vollering sprints to win La Course, Tour de France precursor

LANDERNEAU, France -- Dutch rider Demi Vollering won a sprint finish Saturday to claim a maiden victory in La Course, the women's one-day race organized as a Tour de France curtain-raiser.

There were several unsuccessful attacks in the final 3 kilometers uphill before former champion Marianne Vos launched the sprint from a reduced group in the final stretch leading to Landerneau, in the western Brittany region.

Vollering, who won the prestigious Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic earlier this season, edged Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig of Denmark in the final meters. Vos, another Dutch rider, finished third.

It was the final La Course. Organizers ASO had been holding the event since 2014 in the absence of a women's Tour de France. A women's version of the Tour de France will return next year, with a start in Paris after the conclusion of the men's event.

The Tour de France Femmes aims to become a permanent fixture on the women's world tour cycling calendar after various failed attempts in the past. It is scheduled to start on July 24, 2022.

A women's Tour stage race took place from 1984 to 1989, running parallel with the men's race before later being shortened.