Van Vleuten storms to 2nd in the time trial, moving into 2nd overall at Thüringen

Mon 18 Jul 2016

Dutch time trial champion Annemiek Van Vleuten displayed her consistency in the time trial event to finish in second place in this evening's race against the clock at Thüringen Rundfahrt.

Van Vleuten has been showing promising form in each stage so far and with another strong performance tonight it catapults the ORICA-AIS rider into second place overall, just eight seconds behind the eventual stage winner Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans).

"There wasn't a metre of flat in the time trial course, it was up and down the whole way," said sport director Gene Bates. "It was a very demanding course and Annemiek produced a really fantastic ride."

"We had two riders, Tayler Wiles and Annemiek really going for it tonight and because it was such a hard course the other girls just looked to get through it as best they could as we still have three important stages to come the next three days."

Van Vleuten originally finished 25seconds behind Van Dijk however, after the finish the Boels-Dolmans rider was penalised by 20seconds, which subsequently leaves Van Vleuten in a close second place on the general classification.

"Van Dijk was given a 20second time penalty," continued Bates. "This doesn't effect the stage result but it certainly makes things much closer now with the overall."

"Annemiek gained a lot of time on some people that were in front of her going into today's stage, so she has moved up quite a lot and she has put herself very much in the mix.

"We knew the classification would dramatically change after this stage, and hopefully going into the next stages we still have fairly fresh riders to have numbers up there right until the final day.

"Our goal coming into this race was to target stage wins, and we will be sticking to this plan. We were very close to achieving it this evening. 

"The next three days we will continue to race aggressively and look for stages wins, and by doing so the GC result might come as a result of this."

How it happened:

After already three aggressive, fast road stages the time trial specialists prepared for their time to shine with an evening 19km, hilly race against the clock.

With almost no flat sections to speak of the stage was certainly a key test for the riders and quickly sorted out the general classification with some significant time gaps forming. 

Wiles posted an impressive time early on, but in the end it was only enough to give her 16th place. Then Van Vleuten, known for her all round riding style, arrived at the event ready to challenge for the win on the out and back challenging course.

Starting as one of the latter riders, she knew exactly what time it would take to move into the race lead and successful hauled herself around the course to stop the clock in a time of 24minutes and 59seconds. Which proved enough to give her the fastest time by over ten seconds.

Quick to spoil the ORICA-AIS party was former world time trial champion Van Dijk who immediately after set a time of 24minutes and 34seconds, a sizeable advantage over Van Vleuten.

However, as the final riders posted their times the top two remained the same and the jury decided to penalise Van Dijk 20seconds for an 'unintentional detour of the circuit constituting in an advantage.

This didn't effect the stage result or the overall classification but leaves Van Vleuten only eight seconds behind on the general classification with three more tough road stages to come. 

Thüringen Rundfahrt TT results:

1. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) 24:54
2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS) +0:05
3. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) +0:10 

General classification after stage four:

1. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) 7:51:20
2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS) +0:08
3. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) +0:22