A camera motorbike toppled over as it tried to track Annemiek van Vleuten’s progress up the brutal Super Planche des Belles Filles climb at the Tour de France Femmes on Sunday.
As the Movistar rider closed on a final-stage victory in the yellow jersey, the motorbike's lens was diligently fixed upon her as it crawled alongside the Dutchwoman.
But such was the iconic ramp’s steepness, topping out at 24%, it started to grind to a halt before rolling backwards near the summit and awkwardly falling to eject its driver and camera operator.
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Eurosport expert Adam Blythe said it illustrated how tough the climb was.
“I thought at one point she [Van Vleuten] was going to pull a wheelie and topple over the back. It’s so steep,” said Blythe on The Breakaway.
“You’re coming into it [the final ramp] at a slow pace anyway. Even for Annemiek to make it look hard shows just how tough it was.
“We saw the other riders coming up to the line, all broken. The officials at the top pushing them across the line.”
Van Vleuten was in a class of her own as she dominated the final two stages in the mountains to clinch the general classification by 3’48" from Demi Vollering (SD Worx), the only rider who dared to go with her during her extraordinary charge on Stage 7 before being dropped. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) took third overall at 6’35”.
Van Vleuten battled illness and mechanical issues to win the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes.

‘Didn’t eat for two days!’ - Van Vleuten produces 'performance of a lifetime'

The 39-year-old revealed she was “so, so sick” with a stomach bug and on the verge of quitting after Stage 2.
However, she weathered the difficult days, staying in the hunt for the yellow jersey, before her ride for the ages on Saturday propelled her into the race lead. She had to change her bike three times on the final stage, while she also suffered a puncture.
Eurosport's Dani Rowe, star of the London 2012 Olympics in the velodrome, said it was the "performance of a lifetime".
“She's been waiting for this moment," said Rowe.
“It's just so fitting for her to win in that yellow jersey - inspiring the next generation of girls that are going to come through. It's just incredible.
“And I don't think we would have wanted to see anyone else win. Especially as she had a tummy bug four days ago, and she couldn't eat for two days. [Yet] she still pulled out that performance of a lifetime.”
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