Close to her fourth victory of the year
A very successful Movistar Team until the decisive ‘sterrati’ and an incisive and dedicated Annemiek only gives in to the impressive Kopecky (SDW) in the first ‘worldtour’ round of 2022.
A true ‘capolavoro’, as they say in Italy, starred Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) once again this Saturday at Strade Bianche, the third stop of her 2022 campaign and the first round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour this season. The leader of the telephone group finished 2nd, behind the Belgian champion Kopecky (SDW), after an authentic display of courage and legs in the ‘sterrato’ that characterises the race and the closing stages.
The determined work of Biannic, Patiño, González, Martín or Aalerud, neutralising each one of the important attacks before the last three and decisive gravel sections, allowed ‘Miek’ to unleash all her potential in the last 25 km. She didn’t fail to prove it to the Olympic champion, going so far as to break away with Kopecky after the final leg before the chase from behind her left her in a group of eight for the win. The Dutchwoman once again destroyed the group in Via Santa Caterina, with the sole company of Kopecky with whom she rivaled side by side in the last corners until she gave way only in the last one.
Winner of the 2021 UCI ranking and already with four podiums this year, Van Vleuten is now heading to a new training camp at the height of Tenerife, before returning, at the end of the month, in two races that she already won last year : Dwars Door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders.
Comments / Annemiek van Vleuten:
“Both of us were giving everything to go through the last corner first, because basically the victory was there, there is no time to come back, and that battle was won by Kopecky. I would have liked to be able to leave her behind on that last climb, although I haven’t had the best day either, I’ve had some stomach problems and I still lacked that last point to be able to leave her behind… but she was very strong, she was able to withstand the attacks and he beat me in the sprint. It has been a spectacular battle.
In the end, in a situation like the one we had at the end, with several SD Worx in the leading group, the last 10 km were difficult to manage. They had more numbers and they played it well, trying to make the ending hard. I had to run intelligently but at the same time I had to follow everyone, I couldn’t let anyone go because the race could go away.
I take a little more confidence from this race. I’m still in very good shape. Obviously I’m sad that I couldn’t win; It would have been very nice to take it for the third time, it is a beautiful test, which I love. I’ve had two final wins, here second, I’m still in the lead, fighting hard, attacking… I think I can go to the next block of training happy and looking forward to the next ones”.