Sun Shines as Van Vleuten Seals Historic Solo Success at UCI Road World Championships
Annemiek van Vleuten not only produced one of the rides of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, but of any Championships ever, as she sealed a stunning solo triumph in the Elite Women’s Road Race
Van Vleuten launched her race-winning attack with over 100km to go on the Lofthouse climb and never looked back as she evaded her pursuers for over three hours of action. At times the 36 year old’s lead had looked bridgeable, but she pressed on bravely and achieved an incredible victory that will live long in the history books.
Once van Vleuten had crossed the finish line, her team-mate Anna van der Breggen arrived 2min 15sec later to wrap up a Dutch one-two, with Australia’s Amanda Spratt rounding off the podium a further 13 seconds behind.
The weather gods had looked down kindly on Saturday’s racing as all of the 149.4km trek from Bradford to Harrogate was bathed in early autumn sunshine. Vociferous fans cheered the peloton off in City Park and the crowds that greeted them on the Norwood Edge and Lofthouse ascents were comparable with those of the Tour de France which came to Yorkshire in 2014.
The county put on a real show once again, with magnificent land art being beamed to viewers right around the world and at one point even a herd of sheep near Masham were spotted donning rainbow jerseys.
The racing was equally spectacular, with Yorkshire’s own Lizzie Deignan producing a courageous ride to try and reel van Vleuten back in before eventually being swept up as she began the final lap of a packed Harrogate circuit.
The day belonged to the Netherlands however, whose medal tally at the Championships now stands at eight with only the Elite Men’s Road Race remaining on Sunday.
Netherlands rider Annemiek van Vleuten said: “That was crazy. I knew the climb was really far from the finish but once I’d attacked my coach told me to keep riding hard and I was lucky I had really good legs. It was definitely not planned but I’d trained so hard for this – put in so many hours on the bike – and I thought ‘if anyone can do this, it’s you’. As I was riding I was thinking ‘maybe I could make history today’, and if it didn’t work out I knew Anna [van der Breggen] was in a great position behind.
“It was only towards the end that I dared to believe, and I was being cheered on by so many fans. The crowds in Bradford were huge at the start and I had so much encouragement out on the course as well. British fans are amazing and I want to thank them all for helping make this win so amazing.”
Great Britain rider Lizzie Deignan said: “Today was absolutely phenomenal and a massive privilege to be able to experience. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to ride a home World Championships and I just want to say thank you to all those people who supported me. It’s a day I’ll never forget and I’m so proud of Yorkshire. Congratulations to Annemiek too, she was in a class of her own today.”
VIDEO: Women Elite Road Race | 2019 UCI Road World Championships
2019 UCI World Championship Women's Elite Road Race Top 10
1 Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) 4:06:05
2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 0:02:15
3 Amanda Spratt (Australia) 0:02:28
4 Chloe Dygert (United States Of America) 0:03:24
5 Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) 0:04:45
6 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 0:05:20
7 Marta Bastianelli (Italy)
8 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa)
9 Lisa Brennauer (Germany)
10 Coryn Rivera (United States Of America)