Annemiek van Vleuten followed up her Olympic time trial gold in Tokyo with another win at Donostia San Sebastian.
The Netherlands cyclist secured a dominant Time Trial win to finally become an Olympic Champion just three days ago, and celebrated with another superb victory in the Basque Country today.
Van Vleuten’s win marked an excellent day’s work for her team, Movistar, whose riders helped the 38-year-old close the gap to a six-strong breakaway pack.
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Enduring heavy rain across a 140km course, Movistar’s team of Gloria Rodríguez, Sara Martín, Alicia González, Lourdes Oyarbide and Jelena Erić closed the gap to put van Vleuten within attack range of leader Audrey Cordon-Ragot of Trek-Segafredo.
Van Vleuten pulled away just before the final climb of Murgil-Tontorra with nine kilometres to go, seeing off a late charge from the United States’ Ruth Winder to secure her seventh victory of the year.
“My first ‘txapela’, finally!”, van Vleuten said, referencing the Spanish beret customarily given to the race winner.
“I always came 2nd at the Emakumeen Bira, never won it, and I was so jealous. I love the Basque Country, racing here is always nice.
“Racing was made harder by the rain, gaps were formed easily, and everyone raced quite well, so it really made for a hard race. Can’t be happier about what my team-mates did today.”
Van Vleuten was quick to praise the efforts of her team-mates following her win, as Movistar women’s team claimed their 16th victory in 2021.
She said: “More than a win by me, it’s more of an amazing victory from the whole Movistar Team.
The girls showed what we’re made of, and I’m so proud of their professional, committed work today. We stayed composed after that dangerous breakaway went at Jaizkibel, we came back together after the climb and did things right to bring them to a reachable distance. I was so tired and jet-lagged, I couldn’t sleep much during the last two days, but with my team working so hard, I really had to do my best to finish it off.
It marks another triumph in an incredible week for the Dutch rider, who added two long-awaited titles to her name in a matter days.
After a terrible crash whilst leading the women’s road race at Rio 2016 left her in intensive care with multiple fractures, van Vleuten emphatically completed her redemption arc with a commanding Time Trial win in Tokyo.
Her accomplishments are rendered all the more impressive given the heartbreak of her women’s road race silver medal, wherein a miscommunication led van Vleuten to falsely believe she had won.
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