Annemiek van Vleuten is full of disbelief after her victory in Stade Bianche. The 37-year-old from Utrecht won the first major cycling race after the corona break thanks to an impressive catch-up race.
"I am very happy that I crossed the finish line first here in Siena. This finish is the most beautiful for me," said Van Vleuten, who was also the strongest in Strade Bianche last year, afterwards.
In the end of the race, Van Vleuten joined a group that gave chase to leader Mavi García. She joined the Spanish 6 kilometers from the finish line, lost her on the final climb and crossed the line alone.
"My teammate Amanda Spratt was on the attack, so at one point I thought my chances were lost. Then I heard that García seemed to be on the way to victory and I went on the attack," said Van Vleuten.
'Heavy races are always very good for me'
Van Vleuten thinks the circumstances were in her favor. It was very hot in Tuscany, so many riders had to get off prematurely and García also had a lot of trouble with the heat in the final phase.
"It was very hard and warm. But heavy matches are always very good for me, because I know that my competitors will have a lot more trouble with it. You saw that again today and I benefited from it."
Van Vleuten also impressed last week with three victories in Spain at the resumption of women's cycling. This year she won all competitions where she started, including Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
See also: The new 2020 cycling calendar for men and women