Van Vleuten runner up in Durango-Durango Emakumeen SariaThu 17 May 2018
Last year's winner Annemiek van Vleuten fought hard to second place today in the Basque race Durango-Durango.
On the final climb of the day, in a familar fashion, Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) broke away solo and held on all the way to the finish line to deny Van Vleuten of a consecutive victory in the race.
Despite multiple climbs, heavy undulating roads and intermediate sprints, the elastic of the bunch stayed in tact as the peloton remained all together for the majority of the 113kilometre day.
With two tough climbs coming inside the final 25kilometre kilometres, teams were happy to keep things together, waiting patiently for a battle between the climbers.
The decisive Goiuria
With 40kilometres to go the race began to heat up as Movistar began to lift the tempo, shortly after there was a crash in the peloton and then immediately a small breakaway of four riders formed, however, everything came back together at the base of the penultimate climb.
Over the top of the first ascent, the bunch reduced to arond 25-30riders and with 10kilometres to go Van Vleuten made it into a front split with three other riders.
Van Vleuten attacked on the final climb and was able to drop two of the three riders but Van der Breggen proved to be too strong and was able to jump away from the world time trial champion, leaving her to chase solo behind.
Van Vleuten fought to close the gap but hovered 30seconds a drift and was unable to make up the distance as Van der Breggen held on for the win.
The final podium was filled with three Dutch riders and Mitchelton-SCOTT also jumped onto the podium, winning the team classification.
Annemiek van Vleuten - 2nd place
"I was just not quite good enough to follow Anna's final attack, the last climb was super steep. Stultiens attacked from the bottom of the climb and I decided to follow at my own speed then there was a small descent and then another steep part and then I attacked.
"I was feeling good so just wanted to give it a go and go hard and I had the feeling that Stultiens and Elisa Longo-Borgini (Wiggle-High5) were having a hard time so I dropped them but then Van der Breggen was still with me and she took over on the steep part but I could not follow her.
"It was a climb that suits Anna a bit better than me, it was steep and maybe it suits me a bit better when it is a bit longer.
"Georgia Wlliams and Amanda Spratt finished together in the group behind so we won the team classification so that is a good point for us going into the stage race Bira and we will have good cards to play.
"Hopefully we can isolate Anna and also we have the time trial so after winning the team classification we can take some confidence out of that."
Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria results:
1. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) 2:58:29
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:29
3. Sabrina Stultiens (WaowDeals PC) +0:57
Photo courtesy of Getty Images