Annemiek van Vleuten has hinted that her Olympic cycling career may be over.
The Dutch cycling star won time trial gold in Tokyo and also took home a silver from the road race in bizarre fashion after the peloton didn’t realise there was still a rider up the road.
But, despite the relative road race disappointment, Van Vleuten’s medal haul was a welcome return, coming five years after a horror crash at the Rio Olympics almost forced her out of the sport.
Cavendish plans to make 'special memories' after extending Deceuninck-QuickStep stay
'I was wrong!' - Heartbreak as Van Vleuten wrongly believes she's won gold
And now the 38-year-old says that her Olympic career may well be over, with thoughts of a big for glory in Paris in 2024 just too far away at this stage of her career.
“The story is finished,” Van Vleuten told Movistar.
"This started maybe in the Rio Olympics with that awful fall and now its super cool to show everyone that I was able to finish it off. That’s a really nice feeling.”
Instead, the Dutch rider will target the remaining classics she has yet to add to her palmares, before going for the win in the women’s Tour de France, which is due to finally be added to the cycling calendar in 2022.
“I’ll love to race next year ... just pinning on the numbers without the pressure of Olympics and having really nice goals like the Tour de France for women,” she said. "Every time they add a new race for us, it’s super motivating.”
I don’t look at Paris. It’s also I think I will not go until Paris, or I don’t know, but I look year by year and next year I’m super motivated by the Tour de France for women.
“I was also quite sad to miss the Giro d’Italia [Donne] this year, so that is also still very motivating for me. And the Amstel Gold Race, I’ve never won, the Waalse Pijl/Fleche Wallonne I’ve never won.”
Van Vleuten has been the dominant force in women's cycling in the past few years, winning the World Road Race in 2019, the World Time Trial title in 2017 and 2018, two editions of La Course, and the Giro Rosa in 2018 and 2019.
'Another outstanding performance!' - Van Vleuten powers to impressive victory
And the Dutch star followed up her Olympic glory with yet another win, this time in Spain.
Cavendish: 'Crashes manageable compared with mental health struggles'
'I knew straight away' - Cavendish on 'freak crash', doesn't expect to miss too much time