THE EUROPEAN CHAMPION CROWNS A RACE ON THE ATTACK, BACKED BY A ONCE AGAIN FANTASTIC ‘TELEPHONE’ TEAM, TO GIVE EUSEBIO UNZUÉ’S TEAM THEIR THIRD WIN OF THE WEEK AND THE FIRST IN ‘DE RONDE’ IN MORE THAN FOUR DECADES.
42 years after starting its career in professional cycling, in its fourth season in the women’s peloton, Movistar Team has experienced a unique and special moment this Sunday: winning the Tour of Flanders, one of the most prestigious one-day events in the world. and that a Spanish team had never conquered until today. Annemiek van Vleuten raised her arms alone in Oudenaarde, on her second success in ‘De Ronde’, to crown the big bet of the telephone team and give them their first victory in the UCI Women’s WorldTour.
Protected by Guarischi, Biannic, Erić in the initial movements, and then Norsgaard at the start of the 154 km of the ‘Vlaanderens Mooiste’ and perfectly supported by an active Leah Thomas in key phases of the race, Van Vleuten put her cards on the table quickly and disarmed the group with two hard attacks 45 km from the finish line, starting with the Kanarieberg. With the first selection made, Annemiek kept calm and waited until the final succession of climbs to take another blow.
Jumping towards Grace Brown (BEX) after the Oude Kwaremont, Van Vleuten insisted on entering the decisive climb first, the Paterberg, which she crested with a dozen seconds. That was enough, despite the hard final chase, to complete the win. A third victory for the Movistar Team, after the one already achieved by the European champion in Waregem and Valverde in Estella, in the happiest Easter ever for the Blues.
STATEMENTS / Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I still can not believe it. It has been many years trying to get the victory again here and today, finally, we have achieved it. I always came super prepared, but I was always on the verge of repeating. Our strategy for today was not to let other teams use numerical superiority to their advantage. That is why we started working early and why I have tested it from so far away. I wanted to try it at the Kanarieberg, but there was headwind and that made it difficult to open differences, but I think that allowed me to wear them down and make the race at the end more difficult for everyone, which worked in my favour.
From there, it was to find the right moment. At the Paterberg she already knew that she had no other option and she was clear that she wanted to enter first and exit first. From there, give your best and count the kilometres. She was exhausted, but now she could only go full throttle to the finish line. It was not easy at all, but in the end we succeeded.
It is a very special day for the Movistar Team, who had never won a great classic like this one, and it is very nice to be able to experience these moments with them. Thanks to all the team, for their great work one more day; they are all part of this success. Also to Telefónica and our sponsors, and to all the people who follow and support us ”.
Cover image (c): Photo Gomez Sport