Team Trek-Segafredo's Elizabeth Deignan rides her bike after winning "la course by le tour" women's race prior to the 1st stage of the 107th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 156 km between Nice and Nice, on August 29, 2020. Photo: AFP / POOL/ Stuart Franklin

NICE, France: Britain’s Lizzie Deignan won the women’s cycling race La Course on Saturday, edging a desperate rush for the line by a whisker ahead of defending champion Marianne Vos.

The one-off single stage event preceded the start of the Tour de France which gets under way later Saturday.

The 96km course around Nice embarked with 138 riders but was blown apart on a 5.5km climb in the rolling hills outside Nice.

Deignan, who lives in nearby Monaco, was part of the escape that rushed down a steep, technical descent led by current world champion Annemiek Van Vlueten.

Once the breakaway pack of six were on the flat coastal run into Nice it was a cat-and-mouse affair until Vos attacked and opened a gap large enough to believe in victory.

But Deignan put in an irresistible late dash to finish just centimetres ahead. – AFP