After the Roja, Van Vleuten takes the Rosa, and eyes up yellow

By PressCPA
Luglio 11, 2023
annemiek van vleuten giro d'italia

In her last season as a professional rider, Annemiek van Vleuten took a fourth Giro d’Italia Donne title.

Already a winner of this year’s Vuelta España Femenina in May, the Dutchwoman turns to the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift to try to replicate the extraordinary hat-trick she achieved last year in the Spanish, Italian and French stage races of the UCI Women’s WorldTour.

At 40 years old, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team Women) remains an irrepressible conqueror. And it was in Sardinia, in the city of Olbia, that the multiple UCI World Champion (twice in the road race and twice in the individual time trial) was crowned winner of the Giro d’Italia Donne. With three stage wins to highlight her dominance, Van Vleuten mastered this 34th edition and triumphed with a 3’56” lead over the Frenchwoman Juliette Labous (Team DSM-Firmenich) and 4’23” over the Italian Gaia Realini (Lidl-Trek).

“Winning the general classification is always special. I won it with several teams, it’s my second with Movistar. There were stressful times. I am super proud of my team,” Van Vleuten said after nine days of intense battles in the longest stage race on the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar.

While Van Vleuten shone from the start until the end of this Giro d’Italia Donne 2023, other riders had mixed fortunes, including the Italian Champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek). After winning stage 4, she seemed able to upset the Dutchwoman before crashing and retiring on the following day. The young German Antonia Niedermaier (Canyon//Sram Racing) took the best victory of her career in stage 5 before she was forced to abandon on day six.

Lorena Wiebes (stage 3) and Kata Blanka Vas (stage 8) each won a stage for Team SD Worx and Chiara Consonni completed the event victoriously for UAE Team ADQ.


FROM TUSCANY TO SARDINIA, VAN VLEUTEN’S PARADE

The SD Worx collective has impressed since the start of the season but Annemiek van Vleuten knows how to create openings. After she won the Vuelta España Femenina in May, then after a short period of rest, the leader of Movistar Team Women arrived at her final Giro Donne with great ambitions, in particular in the absence of her great rival Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx).

The goal is clear – to achieve a new grand slam in the major stage races of the UCI Women’s WorldTour: Spain, Italy and soon in France, where she won the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

Crowned Olympic Champion and UCI World Champion in the time trial during her stellar career, Van Vleuten was expected to shine from the first stage of this Giro d’Italia Donne. But due to the violent storms that hit Chianciano Terme, in Tuscany, the organisers took the decision to cancel the action for safety reasons.

The defending champion did not wait long before shining. On day 2, as the race went from Bagno to Rapoli, the Passo della Colla was the ideal springboard for Van Vleuten, who went on the attack at the top to hunt the 100th victory of her career.

Despite a little scare after going to the ground in the final descent of the queen stage (5th) which led the riders to Ceres, in the Piedmont, Van Vleuten still consolidated her leader’s jersey by taking 2nd place.

She asserted her dominance again by going on the offensive up the Calosso ascent to win alone in Canelli, before doing it again at the Santuario Madonna (7th stage). Three successes in six days, quite “van Vleutesque”!

“THE TOUR DE FRANCE IS MY NEXT GOAL”

Just a few minutes after raising her arms to celebrate yet another historic performance (her dominance also earned her the points, mountain and team classifications), Annemiek van Vleuten wanted more. Her eyes are now on Clermont-Ferrand, where she will start the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (July 23-30).

“I’m going back to Livigno, after a few celebrations of course. I will recharge the batteries and then prepare for the Tour de France which is my next objective,” Van Vleuten announced. She has another appointment with the history of her sport, and she rarely misses them.

Article by UCI WWT

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