Annemiek van Vleuten restores Dutch flavour at ORICA-AISFri 9 Oct 2015
Three-time Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile stage winner Annemiek van Vleuten is set to add valuable experience and proven winning ability to ORICA-AIS next season.
Van Vleuten, who boasts an impressive palmares including World Cup victories at Tour of Flanders, GP de Plouay-Bretagne & Open de Suède Vargarda, joins the Australian outfit after seasons with Bigla Pro Cycling and Rabobank.
The 33-year-old restores a Dutch flavor to the Australian outfit after the retirement of road captain Loes Gunnewijk earlier this year.
“For me it is very motivating to be in a foreign team with a different atmosphere and culture,” van Vleuten said. “Loes was always so positive about her experiences with ORICA-AIS that I had no doubt that I will also fit in the team.”
“We are a bit similar. We both like to work hard, be professional and be focused in the race, but also like to be relaxed after the race.
“I wanted to be in a team with a professional and nice atmosphere, this is especially important in an Olympic year. ORICA-AIS has proven over the last years to be very well organised, a professional team with good support and a great atmosphere between riders and staff.”
Gunnewijk was also complementary of van Vleuten, a recommendation that carries weight within ORICA-AIS management.
“Annemiek came very highly regarded by Loes Gunnewijk and being one of the captains of our team since its inception that went a long way with us,” sport director Gene Bates said.
“Having spoken with her a few times now, it’s clear she is going to really settle into the team well and she’s really excited about the challenge.”
A World Cup series, Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour and former Dutch road and time trial champion, van Vleuten has proven abilities across all disciplines, but will focus on the spring early season before working towards Olympic selection for Rio.
“The spring classics are the most important races for me,” van Vleuten explained. “Those races suit me the best, especially the WorldTour races in Cittiglio, Drenthe and of course Tour of Flanders.”
“With some good results in the spring I hope to be selected for the Olympic Games in Rio.
“I also hope to show my time trial qualities again; not only in prologues, but also in the longer time trials."
Bates praised van Vlueten’s versatility, something the team is confident will continue to thrive at ORICA-AIS.
“There doesn’t seem to be a limit to what Annemiek can do,” Bates said. “She has won very short prologues, she’s been the Dutch champion but wins in one-day classics and second at Fleche Wallonne shows she is a lot more than a one trick pony.”
“She really wants to hit the spring classics hard and then we will refocus for the latter part of the season. She is keen to race and when she races, she races flat out and that is really aligned with what the team goals are.”
Annemiek van Vleuten
Date of Birth: 8 October 1982 (33)
Turned Pro: 2008
- Three-time Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile stage winner (’14 and ’15)
- Classics victories at 2011 Tour of Flanders, GP de Plouay-Bretagne & Open de Suède Vargarda
- Tour wins at Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour (’14) and Route de France (’10)
- Former Dutch time trial (’14) and road race (’12) champion
- Overall 2011 World Cup winner