Van Vleuten solos to World Championship glory, Spratt takes bronze in HarrogateSat 28 Sep 2019
Double Giro Rosa champion Annemiek van Vleuten stormed to her debut UCI Road Race World Championship following a staggering solo attack with more than 100-kilometres to go in Yorkshire.
Riding for the Netherlands, Van Vleuten held off the chasing pack to climb onto the top step of the podium, with her Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Amanda Spratt joining her on the podium in third.
Van Vleuten made her daring move on the lower slopes of Lofthouse with 105-kilometres remaining as she moved to the head of the thinning pack and upped the pace. The surge from the double time trial world champion was too much for her rivals as they dropped away and Van Vleuten was soon clear of the field.
The 36-year-old didn’t relent up the exposed ascent and stretched her advantage out to over one minute over the summit, while her Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Spratt formed part of a select chase group behind.
However, that chasing group struggled to work together and as they faltered, Van Vleuten continued to extend her lead. The chasers got within in 45-seconds of bridging across, but as they reached the finishing circuit in Harrogate the gap stood at two-minutes.
The Final Laps
Spratt was still part of the small chasing group who soon began to attack each other around the opening lap of the three finishing loops. The attacks played perfectly into the hands of Van Vleuten as the moves disrupted the tempo behind and the gap held steady at two-minutes.
Nobody could make inroads into the advantage and the difference remained over two-minutes as Van Vleuten raced onto the final lap. Meanwhile, Spratt moved into medal contention as she formed a two-rider chase behind her leading Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate.
Spratt was eventually distanced in the race for the runners-up spot, but there was no catching Van Vleuten as she pulled off the unthinkable and finished off her mammoth solo attack to claim the rainbow jersey in style.
Annemiek van Vleuten:
“It was a 100-kilometre time trial. It was crazy plan, it actually was not planned. I wanted to go hard on the climb. Then I had a gap…and my coach said just continue now, so it was a crazy plan.”
“This was really crazy, and I’m a little bit crazy. I train a lot and I think that also helped me today to be ready for such a big effort, because people know me, I train a lot of hours on the bike, that helped me today.”
“So many emotions, my mother was here, that’s really special for me. It was such a big dream for me to be world champion, I’ve been world champion in the time trial, but on the road you can wear it so much more often.”
“I was really enjoying the moment on the finish line, I really enjoyed all the people, they were crazy today here in Yorkshire, everyone was cheering for me, goose bumps!
UCI Road Race World Championship 2019:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) 4:06:05
2. Anna van der Breggen (NED) +02:15
3. Amanda Spratt (AUS) +02:28
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.