Annemiek van Vleuten picks up another victory in Vuelta
Annemiek van Vleuten has won the challenge at La Vuelta, the five-day stage race that gets held in the last week of the round of Spain for men, after she had already won the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.
In the last stage, a criterion in Madrid of 17 rounds of 5.8 kilometers, the leading position of the 39-year-old cyclist of Movistar, as expected, did not come into any danger. The ride was won by the Italian world champion Elisa Balsamo. The cyclist of Trek-Segafredo kept the Belgian Lotte Kopecky and the Italian Marta Bastianelli behind her in the bunch sprint. It was the ninth victory of the year for Balsamo.
In the final ranking, van Vleuten had a lead of 1 minute and 44 seconds over the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini. Demi Vollering, second in the Tour de France, finished the Vuelta as third. Van Vleuten had captured the leaders' shirt on Thursday in a heavy mountain stage and started the finale stage with a safe lead. There was one serious escape at that stage with four cyclists, among them Nina Buijsman and ex-skater Carlijn Achtereekte. Especially Trek ensured that the four cyclists never got too far away. The work was taken advantage of by Balsamo.
Van Vleuten has announced that she will continue cycling for one more year. She still has the individual time trial, the road race, and the mixed team time trial at the World Cup in Australia to come this year. In 2019 she became world champion on the road; the years before, she won the global time trial title on two occasions.
Van Vleuten was especially curious about her form after a height stage. "I am going to Australia with a good feeling now," she told the NOS. "Especially because of the second stage. Of course, you have to wait and see; you always come back from a height stage with a bit of tiredness in your body. The question marks are gone a bit. I am already incredibly proud of this season. Also, how I have been able to recover after the Tour."
The WC is after the Giro and the Tour, her third big target this year. "The rides were always late here. I have done extra training for three days in a row early in the morning. Which is also to get into the rhythm a little for Australia."
Reporting by ANP