Annemiek van Vleuten dons the rainbow jersey and crowns the best season in history

MADRID, Sep. 24 (.) –

The Dutch Annemiek van Vleuten has been crowned this Saturday road cycling world champion during the World Cycling Championships in Wollongong (Australia), a rainbow jersey that crowns the best season in history, in which she has also been proclaimed champion of the Giro of Italy, the Tour de France and La Vuelta a España.

The Movistar runner, who will turn 40 on October 8, starred in an epic final, despite an elbow fracture that has weighed her down in recent days, attacking in the last of the 164.3 kilometers to become in the oldest cyclist, man or woman, to become world champion.

At 39 years and 351 days old, Van Vleuten beats the record held by his compatriot Joop Zoetemelk, who won the men’s event in 1985 when he was 38 years and 272 days old. The Belgian Lotte Kopecky took the silver medal and the Italian Silvia Persico, the bronze.

Van Vleuten broke his elbow last Wednesday when he went down in the mixed time trial. He still raced this Saturday to win his second World Championship road gold, three years after the first.

“I can’t believe it. I was waiting for the moment to come when they would tell me that this wasn’t reality. But I was working for Marianne! In the end, there came a time when I was left alone in the chasing group and I thought: “Okay, I know I can’t sprint, because of my broken elbow, but I can try. I waited until the last moment to start, I only had one option, one,” he said after the test.

However, he acknowledged that the race was “hell”. “I couldn’t get up on the saddle, like I like to do. My legs felt like they were going to explode on the climb. I had to run completely differently than I usually do, because I wanted to start on Mount Keira, but with the elbow, it was impossible. Marianne was our leader and I came out of gregaria… And here I am, world champion, “he said.

“The two road titles have a history. I was hesitating this morning whether to wear the earrings my father gave me, because I didn’t think I would have a chance, but I thought: ‘They always give me good luck’. I already wanted to win on Wednesday , it was a shame to fall because I knew we had a nice option, perhaps the best after what happened in the time trial, but here we are. In 2020 I couldn’t enjoy the rainbow well due to the pandemic; now I’m going to savor it to the fullest, “he said .

As for the Spanish cyclists, Mavi García finished twenty-fifth, 13 seconds behind the new champion, while Ane Santesteban was thirtieth at 4:50.

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