Annemiek van Vleuten adds Tour de France title to Olympic gold


PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES, France — Veteran Rider Annemiek van Vleuten won the women’s Tour de France, which returned after a 33-year absence, on Sunday after winning the eighth and final stage in style.

Van Vleuten, 39, won the stage 30 seconds ahead of her Dutch compatriot Demi Vollering, who also finished the race second overall. italian rider Silvia Persico was third in the stage, 1 minute, 43 seconds behind the winner.

In the general classification, the Movistar van Vleuten driver was 3h48 ahead of Vollering (Team SD Worx) and 6h35 over the Polish driver. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon – SRAM) in third place.

Van Vleuten had just about enough energy to hit the air with joy as he crossed the line after the 76-mile mountain stage in the Vosges of eastern France. It featured two Category 1 climbs, with the second climb being the end-of-stage hike to La Super Planche des Belles Filles, which ended with a daunting 23% gradient.

She entered the final stage with a 3:14 second lead over Vollering.

On Saturday’s penultimate stage, Van Vleuten rose from eighth overall to take the yellow jersey of Marianne Vos plus superb climbing in the Vosges.

Van Vleuten added the victory to a long list of achievements, including three Giro d’Italia Femminile titles, an Olympic gold medal in the time trial and two world championship gold medals in the same discipline.

Six years ago her career was in jeopardy after suffering spinal fractures and was placed in intensive care after crashing during the women’s Olympic road race at the Games in Brazil.

Vos was among the favourites, but the three-time Giro d’Italia champion ended up in 26th place overall.

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