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Former world champion Lizzie Deignan wins La Course women's cycling race

NICE, France -- British rider Lizzie Deignan pipped defending champion Marianne Vos in a sprint finish Saturday to win La Course, the women's one-day classic race organized as a Tour de France curtain-raiser.

Following a series of unsuccessful attacks in the final kilometres in a group of six breakaway riders, Vos launched the sprint too early and was overtaken by a few millimetres by the former world champion.

Demi Vollering completed the podium in the Riviera city of Nice. The race was held on a 96-kilometre circuit.

In the absence of a women's Tour de France, organizers ASO have been holding the event since 2014. They have long said it's not possible for them to operate a longer race, for logistical and security reasons.

But following repeated calls for its creation, cycling governing body president David Lappartient said this week that ASO is planning to organize a women's stage race for 2022.

A women's Tour was held during the 1980s alongside the men's race. Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo won it three times but the event never fueled media interest.