A few minutes after crossing the finish line, I still couldn’t believe it. The Dutch Annemiek van Vleuten won the Women’s Road Cycling World Championship on Saturday September 24 in Wollongong (Australia). At 39 years old, she puts on her second rainbow jersey (after 2019) and once again demonstrates the superiority of the Netherlands in the peloton: the Dutch have won five of the last six editions.
Before coming to Australia, Annemiek van Vleuten was a huge favourite. But her victory is a real feat, she who was not sure she could line up at the start. During the mixed relay on Wednesday, the runner was the victim of a heavy fall shortly after the start of the race. A subsequent hospital visit revealed the results: a nondisplaced fracture of the right elbow.
⚠️ CRASH for @AvVleuten!! ⚠️ A mechanical problem causes a horrible accident for the Dutch superstar. Really disappointing… https://t.co/c1XQ9cxncx
Finally lined up, it seemed that Van Vleuten was being promised a role as a luxury teammate for the Netherlands, especially as she battled for the lead during the final two laps of the circuit (17km each). Stopped for the first time during the penultimate climb of Mount Pleasant (1.1 kilometers at 7.7%, pace at 14%), she managed to get back with other riders, before falling behind again in the same place in the next corner.
A dream season
The case seemed resolved, and the podium positions would then be decided between the five riders who came out in front with 7 kilometers to go. But, unable to come to an agreement, the leaks resumed a kilometer from the finish line. A little further back, Annemiek van Vleuten had a harder time catching up with him. But the Dutchwoman did not miss her opportunity: she, who admitted before the race that it was difficult for her to get on a dancer, got on the pedals to provide a decisive acceleration when joining the leading group, and win ahead of the Belgian Lotte. Kopecky (2me) and the Italian Silvia Persico (3me).
This feat completes a dream season for Van Vleuten, who had previously dominated the general classification of the three Grand Tours (Tour de France, Italy and Spain). But while she had largely dominated the Tour de Francein particular in the mountains, by relegating compatriot Demi Vollering to second by more than three minutes, it was on a completely different record that the Dutchwoman found a way to win on Saturday.
During the last two laps of circuits complicated by the rain, the French failed to get on the podium. Present with the best during the final sprint, Juliette Labous finally finished 7me. “Van Vleuten left, and no one could go therehe explained upon his arrival at the microphone of New Caledonia La Première. The race was really explosive, I don’t regret it. »
However, tricolor cycling won a first medal in these World Championships on Saturday: Eglantine Rayer (18) took silver in the junior race, behind the British Zoe Bäckstedt.