Annemiek van Vleuten's dominance is such that even if her rivals attacked at the moment she had a mechanical on Stage 8 – and, in doing so, broke one of the unwritten rules of cycling - it would not matter, according to Adam Blythe speaking on The Breakaway.
The Movistar rider suffered an untimely mechanical on Stage 8 of the Tour de France Femmes that saw her change bikes three times. She also suffered a puncture. Each time she would re-join the main group.
Despite expending that energy to get back on, she rode away on Super Planche des Belles Filles to conquer the iconic climb as she was crowned winner of the Tour de France Femmes.
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And in the post-race Breakaway Orla Chennaoui put it to Adam Blythe whether her rivals should have broken one of the unwritten rules of cycling: do not attack the yellow jersey when they have a mechanical.
“Oh, trust me, I'd have been on it like a car bonnet,” joked Adam Blythe.
“I would have been like, ‘she's out the back - let's go, let's go’. And she'd still catch up - of course she would."
The former Lotto Soudal rider then explained the nuances of racing when the leader is in trouble.
“I mean it's not the right thing to do, obviously, but the race is still happening in front, isn't it? I mean, if she'd punctured went back and you said, ‘okay, look, we'll wait for her’. And then she got back on again and then punctured. Okay, it's wrong to attack as she punctures, but if the race is already on as she's chasing back on, by all means, just push on.”
Dani Rowe noted that Christine Majerus came back from the break to drive the pace for SD Worx to do all they could within the unwritten code of honour.
“They did try though,” said Rowe.
“Christine Majerus came back from the break and she was really driving it forward for SD Worx. I think they did all that they can at that moment in time.”
Blythe finished by joking that her levels of endurance meant it mattered little when teams attacked – inside or outside the unwritten rules of cycling – because Van Vleuten would just come back on.
“She just got the engine of a blooming Ferrari,” began Blythe. “No matter what you do, she is always going to come back.”

Highlights: Van Vleuten tames Super Planche to seal Tour de France Femmes win

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