Van Vleuten holds off a fierce chase to make it a hat-trick of victories in Northern SpainSun 26 Jul 2020
World champion Annemiek van Vleuten was too good once again claiming her third-consecutive victory in four days, with a solo win at Durango-Durango this afternoon.
However, the win didn’t come easily for the 37-year-old with her Dutch rival, Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), hot in pursuit during the final 10kilometres, hovering just 10seconds adrift.
The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider gave it everything to keep her compatriot at bay, crossing the line to make it a straight run of four-from-four wins in the rainbow jersey so far this season.
Fast first hour
The peloton was clearly keen to begin racing, completing the first hour with a fast average speed of 42.6kilometres. Various riders tried to break away, but the pace proved to be too hard and they were almost immediately brought back.
Mitchelton-SCOTT remained active towards the front of the bunch throughout the first, fairly flat 70kilometres, which subsequently saw Amanda Spratt and Moniek Tenniglo claiming points in intermediate sprints along the road.
Climbs shake up the bunch
On the approach to the penultimate climb, Goiuria Gaina, Mavi Garcia (Ale-BTC Ljubljana) attacked and opened up a small advantage which saw the peloton string out as the road headed north.
Up and over the top of the climb, a select group of 15riders formed, catching Garcia just before the summit with Van Vleuten taking maximum points on the mountain prime.
The final battle
In her signature style, Van Vleuten left the front group and went for it solo. Quick to respond, Van der Breggen was rapidly on her tail, dangling between 10 and 20seconds behind as Van Vleuten crested the final ascent.
It was touch and go as to whether the world champion could hold off the Olympic champion, making for an exhilarating finale, with Van Vleuten doing just enough to hold off the fierce chase and add another victory to her extending list of palmares.
The victory today makes it a second-consecutive victory for the Mitchelton-SCOTT in the event, after Lucy Kennedy claimed a solo victory in 2019, and wraps up a successful return to racing for the women’s team in Spain.
Annemiek van Vleuten
“I cannot remember winning four-races in a row, actually five, because the world championships started it.
“I don’t want to be arrogant; it is unbelievable for me to win these three races; I cannot have believed this would have happened.
“I have to say Friday was the biggest surprise but today I knew the final so I knew if it stayed together then it would be good for me. It was a super steep climb which I know really well.
“Going into the final the team did a super good job with Moniek and Georgia (Williams) all the time controlling the bunch and that really helped me, so I didn’t have to-do any effort before the climb. Also, a big shout out to Amanda Spratt today, she was always offensive always there and it is always nice to see her there and we can go to Strade Bianche now with confidence.
“I attacked at the start with the first steep part of the final climb and then Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) surprised me with a really, really big attack, but actually I could follow her, then she blew half-way up the steep climb, so I could take over and go my own speed to the top.
“Anna (Van der Breggen) was just behind me between 10 and 15 seconds so I had to go full gas on the descent. I had a bit of a flashback to La Course and last year in the Giro, so it was a really interesting fight between Anna and me. I could not relax on the descent or really enjoy it, but it was a beautiful final.
“To win every race in the jersey; for sure I cannot keep this record but for now it is nice. At first, they wanted to interview me about the curse of the rainbow jersey, but I am really happy I don’t have that curse."
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2:51:17
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) +0:18
3. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) +1:05
Photo courtesy of Getty Images