July 20, 2017

COL D'IZOARD, France (AP) Annemiek van Vleuten won the first stage of the La Course women's race Thursday before Stage 18 of the Tour de France, attacking on the climb to the Col d'Izoard pass in the Alps and riding alone to claim the victory.

The Dutch rider finished 43 seconds ahead of Elizabeth Deignan of Britain. Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy was third, 1:23 behind Van Vleuten.

The women's race was run over 67.5 kilometers (42 miles) from Briancon to the top of the Izoard pass - also the finish of Stage 18 in the men's race. Van Vleuten covered the distance in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 18 seconds. The men's route on Thursday was longer, at 179.5 kilometers (112 miles).

The women race a second stage in Marseille on Saturday, where the men will have a time trial.

Van Vleuten sustained three small fractures to her spine in a crash during the women's Olympic road race last year in Rio de Janeiro.

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