Annemiek Van Vleuten attacked very early in the stage and only Demi Vollering could follow her. The Team SD Worx rider latched on to the wheel and was the first to reach the top of Le Petit Ballon. “I wanted to put pressure on Annemiek in the descent, so I accelerated just above the top,” she said.
Van Vleuten did not budge and on the Col du Platzerwasel she again increased the pace. One kilometre from the summit, Vollering broke. “I could have stayed in her wheel a bit longer, but I couldn’t do it anymore. She rode such a big acceleration, on which I achieved wattages that are maximum for me. I still felt pretty good, but then Annemiek accelerated even more, so I had to stand on the pedals. Then my legs soured completely. Then I thought: damn, this is really going to be a very hard and long day. There was no end to it. It was pedal by pedal, I rode myself completely empty.”
Vollering put up a strong fight and held off a group with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Kasia Niewiadoma and Juliette Labous to 1’50”. As a result, she will start the final stage as second in the general classification and in the polka dot jersey of the mountain classification. She is one point ahead of Annemiek Van Vleuten. “I’m definitely going to defend my second place. I really like that jersey. I’m really going to fight to keep it. La Super Planche des Belle Filles is a climb that normally suits me, so I hope I can win the mountain classification.”
Anna Van Der Breggen
“We knew it was going to be a battle for the general classification. That already broke loose on the first climb. Demi had a really good day. We hoped she could stay with Annemiek until the top of the second climb. She has held up very well afterwards. She rode a long solo. This is a result she can be proud of.”