Van Vleuten completes ORICA-SCOTT’s dream Australian season at Cadel Road Race

Sat 28 Jan 2017

Dutch leader Annemiek van Vleuten has taken out the Deakin Elite Women’s Race at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong today.

Van Vleuten, a former world number one who has victories at some of the world’s biggest one-day Classics including the Tour of Flanders, made it two in a row at the race for ORICA-SCOTTfollowing teammate Amanda Spratt’s win last year.

Admitting she wasn’t one of the team’s protected riders, the 34-year-old was pleased she could deliver despite contributing to the early work as a domestique.

“I was not one of the leaders for the day,” van Vleuten explained. “I am targeting the start of March so I said I would like to help my teammates.”

“I have surprised myself. In the Tour Down Under I was struggling uphill but today I was one of the better riders uphill.

Katrin Garfoot and Amanda Spratt were supposed to be our leaders and they didn’t have a great day. I noticed on the climbs that they weren’t there anymore and that it was only me.

“I had done already some work so I felt some pressure thinking maybe I have to also finish this race off. I think this is one of my strengths that I am a bit older and I have a big engine.”

Van Vleuten was part of a chase group of four who caught solo leader Emma Pooley (Holden Women’s Cycling Team) with 2.5km left to race before winning the five-up sprint in an exciting finish to the 133.3km race.

Once it came down to a reduced sprint, Van Vleuten said she was comfortable with her chances.

“I knew that I was the fastest of the (final) group but there was also extra pressure because you don’t want that they surprise you,” she said of her thoughts in the final kilometre.

The result caps off an incredible start to 2017 for ORICA-SCOTT. The women’s team will now travel to Europe having won three national titles, the Tour Down Under and Cadel Road Race titles under their belt.

How it happened:

The women’s peloton rolled out of Geelong with a buzz as they began the picturesque 113.3km Deakin Elite Women’s Race in front of good crowds and with the promise of live television coverage.

As the flag dropped, the peloton stayed composed as they waited for the protected roads to conclude and the cross winds to start playing havoc.

Despite a number of efforts, particularly from local Australian outfits, the peloton continued to recover from any small splits or breakaways and with 25km to go the bunch remained relatively intact.

From there, the roads became more difficult and the pace was on. Numerous attacks were launched, but it was a solo move by Pooley on the final climb that proved to be the most threatening.

Van Vleuten contributed to a chase group of four riders who joined Pooley with 2.5km remaining before outsprinting them for the victory on Geelong’s waterfront.

Deakin Elite Women's Race - Reuslts

1. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) 3:04:13
2. Ruth Winder (United Healthcare) ST
3. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle-High5) ST