But where will it stop? At 39 years old, Annemiek van Vleuten became the longest-serving world champion in history -both men and women- on Saturday in Wollongong (Australia), winning her second road title after 2019. She beat Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) and Silvia Persico (Italy). ) who might hit the handlebars in anger at being duped.
However, he is not the strongest of the day.
She had announced it, with her right elbow fractured, she ” he was at the beginning to help his companions “. But, problem for the Batavians, Demi Vollering, the spare leader, withdrew after a positive Covid test just before the race. Marianne Vos, a four-time world champion, was therefore to be the head of Dutch poster.
After the appearance of the rain in the final part of the race, a group of five broke off during the penultimate pass through Mount Pleasant, 25 kilometers from the finish: Ludwig, Longo-Borghini, Niewiadoma, Lippert and Moolman, the only candidates for the title . Not a trace of Van Vleuten, Vos or even the French Juliette Labous, surpassed and relegated to more than 30”.
Taken for the first time by a leading peloton – thanks in particular to the work of Van Vleuten and Van Dijk for their sprinter – the five women returned to the same place during the last lap of the circuit. Stronger than their rivals, they managed to make a first breakaway with less than ten kilometers to go.
A suspenseful ending
Despite this, the final was undecided, with three groups separated by seconds. In the second we find in particular Van Vleuten, Labous or Kopecky, the Belgian sprinter. On a third rung, Marianne Vos was counting on a rally to make her talk at top speed. It will never happen, the Dutchwoman is content with 14th place in 13”.
Instead, shortly before the red flame, the first two groups merged under the impetus of the Swiss. Lotte Kopecky, the only sprinter in this leading group, saw the rainbow jersey approaching. Big mistake. Still on the last small slope of the course, Van Vleuten recovered again at 900 meters and attacked immediately, taking advantage of his speed. Not wanting to make the effort behind, the Dutchwoman was able to keep a golden second at the finish line. After the three Grand Tours and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Dutch race concludes a historic season in apotheosis.
Among the French, Juliette Labous, who was returning with Van Vleuten in the final moments, was unable to grab the Dutchwoman’s wheel in her attack and settled for seventh place in the sprint.