Van Vleuten blasts to victory in the Boels Ladies Tour prologueTue 3 Sep 2019
Double defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten took a commanding win in the Boels Ladies Tour prologue to kick-off the six-day race in style.
Starting on home soil, the world time trial champion was the last rider to take on the technical Tom Dumoulin Bike Park, but it proved to be no problem for the 36-year-old as she took the victory by six-seconds.
New Zealand time trial champion Georgia Williams was the first rider to take to the course for Mitchelton-SCOTT, with the 26-year-old lapping the tight circuit in a time of 5’32”. Australian Gracie Elvin was the next rider to roll down the start ramp before coming home in 5’29”.
Local rider Moniek Tenniglo then went one-second slower than her teammate, while former Boels Ladies Tour stage winner Sarah Roy navigated the bike park in a time of 5’24”. Triple Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt was the penultimate rider to head down the start ramp for Mitchelton-SCOTT and the 31-year-old set at time of 5’22” around the tight and twisty course.
As the defending champion, Van Vleuten was the last rider away and the world time trial champion set off with a time of 5’10” to beat. The reigning champ stormed off the line and flew around the bends, with gear changes crucial out of the sharp turns and up the short uphill section in the middle of the course.
There was no stopping Van Vleuten as she raced across the line in 5’04” to go six-seconds faster than her nearest rival and take a dominant victory on home soil.
Annemiek van Vleuten:
“You don’t really know how you will come back from altitude and especially on this course with so many corners, you need to accelerate a lot and that’s not something I did a lot in the last four-weeks at altitude climbing all the mountains. But I usually have a good feeling when I come back from altitude and also, I could see my numbers at altitude were really good, so I had confidence coming here.”
“But days like that this is not nice to wake up because you feel this pressure, if you know you’re good in something you feel more pressure. On this course if you make one mistake for example before the steep hill, or you make a mistake in the wrong gear, yeah, you lose it, so that makes it more exciting.”
“I’m not here to go for the GC at all. When I saw the course, I was bit disappointed there was no time trial and also no hard, hilly stage. It means I’m not going to defend this jersey with my team, I think we go for stages, have some fun without pressure this year.”
Martin Vestby (Sports Director):
“It was more or less a perfect ride from Annemiek. She’d done quite a lot of work beforehand and reconned it, so she knew the course perfectly, we did a recon both yesterday and today.”
“There’s always a bit of pressure as well, starting in your home country with the world champions jersey, but she did everything perfect today, so it was good start to the tour for us.”
Boels Ladies Tour 2019 Prologue
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 5:04
2. Lisa Klein (Canyon SRAM Racing) +0:06
3. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) +0:07
Photo courtesy of Kristof Ramon.