Worlds Race Report: Annemiek van Vleuten is the new women’s World champion. The Dutch rider attacked 105 kilometres from the finish on the climb of Loftus Road, from then on she never looked back and rode solo to the finish in Harrogate. Van Vleuten finished with a lead of over 2 minutes on her country-woman, Anna van der Breggen and Australian Amanda Spratt to win her first World title on the road.
Over 100 kilometres out front
With three stage victories in the Ladies Tour of Norway and five stage victories in the Tour de l’Ardèche, nobody doubted Marianne Vos’ favourite status for the rainbow jersey. However, a World championship is unpredictable, on Saturday the race would develop in a different way than predicted.
A strong Dutch team at the start
Women Elite Road Race – Bradford to Harrogate – 149.4km
The peloton will roll out to the north of Bradford and sample the delights of Shipley and Otley before the first categorised ascent comes on Norwood Edge. This winding ramp might distance some of the weaker climbers who will look to restore parity as the race continues to Pateley Bridge and up the Nidderdale valley. The climb of Lofthouse is awaiting them there and we may well see the frontrunner coming to the fore before they crest the summit and descend into Masham. A flat section before Ripon precedes the undulating approach into Harrogate and two laps of the circuit prove a real war of attrition before the new world champion is crowned on Parliament Street.
Heading out of Bradford
The Kuwait and Macau riders were dropped after 2 kilometres. The Netherlands team started the race at top speed and it was Demi Vollering who decimated the peloton on the first climb of Norwood Edge, 120 kilometres from the finish.
Hard from the start
Van Vleuten made her move on Loftus Road
Van Vleuten starts her solo
Annemiek van Vleuten started a long solo 105 kilometres out from the finish on Loftus Road, few people had predicted the move. The Dutch rider put in her early jump on the climb (3km at 9%) and no one was able to follow. Van Vleuten soon had a gap of 1 minute on a group with Elizabeth Deignan, Anna van der Breggen, Elisa Longo Borghini, Chloé Dygert Owen, Amanda Spratt, Soraya Paladin, Cecile Uttrup Ludwig and Clara Koppenburg. Marta Bastianelli, Marianne Vos and Katarzyna Niewiadoma were still in the peloton, and with 80 kilometres to go, they were 3:20 down on Van Vleuten.
The eyes of the World were on Van Vleuten for a long time
The race was over for many early on
The pursuers couldn’t get any closer to Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen could sit on and save herself. The peloton was also not making much of a dent on the lead. Poland and France joined forces to pull back the lead, but not much. At 48 kilometres from the finish, the chasers were at 2 minutes. Longo Borghini tried to escape the chase group, but didn’t get away. This only helped Van Vleuten’s lead. Dygert was the next to try a few kilometres later and managed to get a small lead. Thirty kilometres from the finish, Dygert had a gap of almost a minute, and was 1:30 behind Van Vleuten.
It could be the Tour de France
The chase Had missed the boat
Van Vleuten uncatchable
Dygert couldn’t keep her effort going and soon she was pulled back by Spratt and Van der Breggen, who proved to be the best in the chase group. At that point it became clear that Van Vleuten would take the World title after her brave solo ride.
The race was over by the final circuite
1K to go
Emotional victory for Van Vleuten, silver for Van der Breggen
It was an emotional Van Vleuten who celebrated in the last kilometres. To top it off for the Dutch team; Anna van der Breggen rode away to finish 13 seconds ahead of Amanda Spratt for the silver medal. Sprat took the bronze with Chloe Dygert (USA) finishing 4th at 3:24.
Happy to finish and be champion
Van der Breggen in second place
World champion, Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands): “I feel a lot of emotions. It was my big dream to someday be world champion on the road. My father gave it to me. He’s here with me today. I thought attacking so far would be good for the team. I didn’t think it was going to be a one hundred kilometre long time trial. But if you see that you have a gap, then you have to continue. It was really crazy, I am crazy. I trained a lot. The many hours on the bike helped me and prepared me for such an effort, but this, no, I really can’t believe this.”
3rd Amanda Spratt
Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten and Spratt
Worlds Women’s Road Race Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) in 4:06:05
2. Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) at 2:15
3. Amanda Spratt (Australia) at 2:28
4. Chloe Dygert (United States Of America) at 3:24
5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) at 4:45
6. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) at 5:20
7. Marta Bastianelli (Italy)
8. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa)
9. Lisa Brennauer (Germany)
10. Coryn Rivera (United States Of America)
11. Christine Majerus (Luxembourg)
12. Arlenis Sierra (Cuba)
13. Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark)
14. Sofie de Vuyst (Belgium)
15. Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)
16. Alison Jackson (Canada)
17. Audrey Cordon Ragot (France)
18. Alena Amialiusik (Belarus)
19. Amy Pieters (Netherlands)
20. Paula Andrea Patino Bedoya (Colombia)
21. Elise Chabbey (Switzerland)
22. Anna Henderson (Great Britain)
23. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland)
24. Elena Cecchini (Italy)
25. Margarita Victo Garcia Canellas (Spain).