Imola (Italy) (AFP)
Queen for a day and a season, the Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen took part in the women's race of the world cycling championships on Saturday at the Italian circuit of Imola, two days after winning the title against -the watch.
The 30-year-old Dutchwoman is the first to achieve this double the same year since the French Jeannie Longo in 1995, on the Duitama plateau in Colombia.
Reigning Olympic champion van der Breggen continued the Netherlands' grip on women's cycling.
A fourth title in four years and an impressive "stat": since 2006, the "Oranje" have finished each time, except in 2010, in one of the first two places!
In Imola, + VDB + was satisfied with a less abysmal gap than in 2018 when it had won on the difficult Austrian circuit of Innsbrück (3 min 42 sec).
On the line, she was 1 min 20 seconds ahead of her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten, victorious last year, and the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini.
The 143-kilometer race ended in the steepest part of Gallisterna, the second hill of the course, 40 kilometers from the finish, after a first selection made by van Vleuten.
- "A real fight" -
This is where van der Breggen made the difference, as did Longo Borghini and van Vleuten on the next lap, the fifth and last.
Subsequently, the Dutchwoman controlled her effort to secure her fifth victory since the resumption of competition.
Since her national title acquired on August 22, the young woman, who studied nursing before turning "pro" in 2012, has had a series of successes: time trial of the European championships, general classification of the Giro and doubled at the World Cup, the peak of the season.
“Incredible!” Exclaimed the winner, congratulated from all sides after the finish.
"It was tough from the start, a real fight. I felt great on the penultimate lap. We talked and decided to toughen up the race. The tactics worked."
The Dutch triumph was completed by the money won in-extremis by van Vleuten, for the benefit of the photo-finish.
The Dutchwoman, who was racing with a protection to her left wrist fractured just nine days ago in a fall at the Giro, narrowly edged Longo Borghini, already in bronze in 2012.
Marianne Vos, the iconic Dutch cycling champion, settled the first chase group for fourth place.
But more than two minutes from van der Breggen, untouchable in the sunny hills of Romagna.
© 2020 AFP