Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten won the Tour de France Femmes for the first time, in the first opportunity for her career. She took the final two stages in style, include the final finish on the summit of La Super Planche des Belles Filles.
The 39-year-old took the stage by 30 seconds from her Dutch compatriot Demi Vollering. The SD Worx rider finished 2nd on the last 2 stages and also finished 2nd overall too. Behind them, Silvia Persico was 3rd today but a distant 1 minute and 43 seconds behind.
The Tour de France Femmes final standings saw Annemiek Van Vleuten finish 3:48 ahead of Vollering, with Kasia Niewiadoma a more distant 3rd place at 6:35 behind the winner. The best young rider jersey was won by another Dutch rider, Trek Segafredo’s Shirin van Anrooij.
Despite emptying the tanks for the second day in a row, Van Vleuten was able to punch the air with delight, able to complete this win before her retirement next season. Today’s stage featured 123km of riding, a pair of Cat 1 climbs and a 2nd Cat climb too. Demi Vollering was first over the Cat 2 and finished high enough at the finish to earn the Polka Dot Jersey for best climber too.
The race was all but sealed yesterday with only a large explosion likely to see Van Vleuten dropped enough to surrender all of her lead. That allowed the racing to take on a different style. Van Vleuten waited for the final climb before making her move today, with the day’s break reeled in very quickly once the road went upwards.
Van Vleuten added this victory at the Tour de France Femmes to a long list of achievements, including three Giro d’Italia Femminile titles, Olympic gold in time trial and two world championship golds in the same discipline.
Six years ago, her career was under threat after she sustained fractures to her spine and was placed in intensive care after crashing during the women’s Olympic road race at the Brazil Games.