Annemiek van Vleuten completes last-ever race as SD Worx take the wins

Annemiek van Vleuten, one of the Netherlands’ most distinguished cyclists, took her final bow in a 150km stage of the Simac Ladies Tour. While she didn’t play a pivotal role in the concluding race around Arnhem, the SD Worx team clinched top honours. Lorena Wiebes sprinted to victory in the last stage, and Lotte Kopecky secured the overall title a day after her own stage win.

Van Vleuten’s illustrious career culminated with the last 150km staged near Arnhem. The riders undertook seven 14km laps, encompassing the challenging Zijpenberg near the Posbank, followed by five demanding local laps, each spanning 8km.

A considerable breakaway managed to carve out a lead after the initial 40km. Surprisingly, van Vleuten, the Movistar team leader, wasn’t among the 25-strong group. Lotte Kopecky and second-placed Lorena Wiebes, however, were prominent figures. Other notable participants included Mischa Bredewold, Floortje Mackaij, and Anna Henderson, third in the overall standings.

Despite these efforts, Niewiadoma stole the spotlight with a solo attempt, gaining a 25-second advantage. Yet, she faced challenges in the final Arnhem round and was caught two kilometres before the finish. Despite Mackaij’s last-minute attack, Wiebes snatched the win, assisted by a skilful lead-out from Kopecky, just ahead of Elisa Balsamo.

During the race, Van Vleuten acknowledged the unlikelihood of her reaching the leading pack. As the final lap unfolded, she took her moment, waving gratefully to the massive crowd gathered. Her family awaited her at the finish line, embracing her as she concluded her professional journey.

Lotte Kopecky emerged victorious in the Simac Ladies Tour. Despite Wiebes’ stage win, Kopecky faced no significant threat, ensuring her dominance remained intact. Expressing her delight, Kopecky highlighted how continually achieving these milestones made her career even more gratifying.

Anna Henderson, representing Team Jumbo-Visma, secured ninth place in the tour’s final stage. Despite being part of the leading group with Karlijn Swinkels, she sprinted to another top-ten finish, rounding off third in the general classification.

Lastly, Elisa Balsamo of Lidl-Trek shared her reflections on the rigorous tour. Despite the demanding stages, she went home with a renewed sense of confidence, thanking her team for their unwavering support.

2023 Simac Ladies Tour Stage 5 result

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