Tour of Norway (Stage 3)
The Movistar Team Olympic champion, carried by an unbreakable ‘blue’ block, prevailed with authority in the Scandinavian mountains and achieves the 30th victory of the ‘telephone’ squad in 2021.
The extraordinary 2021 season of Annemiek van Vleuten and Movistar Team continues to rise to new heights in the Women’s Tour of Norway (UCI Women’s WorldTour), which saw its queen day this Saturday. With the final climb to the Norefjell ski resort (10.5 km at 6%) an undeniable triumph for the brand new Olympic TT champion.
The current defender of the European title, has been supported perfectly during the three days of racing so far by the work of Gloria Rodríguez, Barbara Guarischi, Aude Biannic, Sheyla Gutiérrez and Leah Thomas. Van Vleuten was able to stand up to the attacks of SD Worx , with Niamh Fisher-Black and Ashleigh Moolman, and launch her final acceleration 3km from the finish, leaving behind the South African and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ) and appearing at the finish line with a 34″ advantage, she will have almost forty seconds to defend her new yellow jersey tomorrow.
Van Vleuten thus adds the 81st victory of her professional career and the 30th success – 17th for the women’s team, here led by Pablo Lastras – of a Movistar Team 2021 that will seek tomorrow to offer another joy to its fans in the northernmost stage race of the feminine calendar.
STATEMENTS / Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I came to this race trying not to put myself under a lot of pressure after the Games, and just to see where I was after these days before Norway. But with the team working as hard as today, leaving everything on the road with such an incredible job, the pressure was different: to be able to finish for them. I have given absolutely everything into that attack.
The initial objective of the stage was to try to keep the group together until the final climb. In fact, Baby (Barbara Guarischi) pulled so hard to line up the group at the start of the climb that she even made me suffer… and that’s good! All I had to do, once on the climb, was to follow the group and find my moment. Pablo (Lastras) and I had talked about trying to attack in the hard part, but the other teams have gone with a good rhythm and it was not a walk at all, so it was not easy to test it there.
In the end, that attack by Ashleigh Moolman came and I have tried to give it continuity. I saw that she could follow me, but I kept insisting, I did not look back and I pressed until I was able to release her. I didn’t really know what was going on behind me, because I was in “maximum pain” mode. In the end, a nice victory in a beautiful race like this in Norway, and I’m already looking forward to defending this jersey with the team tomorrow. It’s going to be another very tough day, but I think we have a group with a lot of experience and we are sure to defend it. With them, I can’t be nervous ”.
Image credits: Photo Gomez Sport / Anton Vos