During the 2022 season, Annemiek van Vleuten announced that she would retire at the end of the 2023 season. However, after winning the World Championships in Wollongong, speculation was rife about whether the Dutch star would continue. After a number of high-profile retirement u-turns this year, we’ve almost been conditioned to not expect a rider to actually retire when they say they will. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Marta Bastianelli are some of the highest-profile riders to not retire this year.
The current world champion has expressed previously that she would like to work with young riders but it doesn’t look like she will take to the team car. Her rival Anna van den Breggen swapped the peloton for a role as DS at SD Worx but Annemiek sees her future elsewhere. Despite studying to be an epidemiologist, Van Vleuten has also previously said she doesn’t see her future in this area at the moment.
“After the World Championships they asked me ‘do you sometimes hesitate to stop’ and I said ‘yes’. Doubts are not uncommon, but the media turned it into something like “maybe she will continue”. However, that is not the case. Becoming world champion and wearing the rainbow jersey is even more confirmation to stop next year. I have no doubts.
“I have to make sure I can find a new passion. It will be a challenge, but I like to get out of my comfort zone. Quitting cycling might be out of my comfort zone. My step to Movistar was a bit out of my comfort zone, but quitting cycling also gives me new opportunities. I think that will be scary, but it will also benefit me a lot.
“Working with a young group of people, enthusiastic athletes, it is something I would really like to do. I know that for sure. Right now I’m thinking a bit about what role I want to have. Working with young athletes and seeing how I can inspire and coach them interests me. Maybe I can do that as a sports psychologist or as a team manager, but maybe also just as a coach.”Annemiek van Vleuten