COL D'IZOARD, France (Reuters) - Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands attacked four kilometers (2.5 miles) from the finish on Thursday to win the first stage of La Course by Le Tour, the women's race run by Tour de France organizers ASO.
A few hours before the Tour's 18th stage finishes at the top of the famed Izoard climb, Van Vleuten beat Britain's Lizzie Deignan by 43 seconds.
The top 20 finishers will compete in a time trial in Marseille on Saturday.
It is Van Vleuten's biggest win since she suffered a spectacular crash in last year's Olympics road race in Rio de Janeiro.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by John Stonestreet)