We’re racing again! The Strade Bianche is done and dusted, which means the peloton finally rode the first WorldTour-race of the season. In non-COVID times, this race is much earlier in the year. So this year the circumstances were different: it was almost 40 degrees Celcius, which meant a lot of heat and a lot of dust.
For a long time it looked as if the Spanish Mavi Garcia was on her way to first place in Sienna. But in the end Annemiek van Vleuten managed to bridge the gap not only between the peloton and the chase, but also to the leader. Anna came in fourth.
A good start to the new season, where Anna was able to show herself in the races. “These first four races were way earlier than my main goals for this year. There’s a gap now that a few races, like the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, have been cancelled”, she says. “I plan to be in my best shape when September comes around so I can perform my best at the European time trials, the Giro d’Italia Femminile and the road race of the World Championships.”
On her way to the World Championships
Leading up to the World’s, Anna is also racing the national championship in Drenthe, the 22nd of August. A few days after that it’s time for the GP Plouay in Bretagne, a day later the European Championship road race takes place. Then it’s off to Italy for the Giro, from September 11 through 19. Anna is not sure yet if she’s gonna race for a podium spot in the Italian race. “The routes haven’t been presented yet, so I don’t know how well the race will suit me.”
But first, it’s time for a recon of the routes for the World Championship, which will be on the 21st (time trial) and the 26th (road race) September in the Swiss town of Martigny. “I’m really looking forward to the recon”, Anna says. “Sadly, the time trial is a fairly flat race, but there a enough altitude meters in the road race route.” After the recon, Anna will go on altitude training with her teammate Chantal van den Broek-Blaak in Kühtai, Austria.
Spring classics in October
Usually, the World Championships mark the end of the season. But this year it’s followed by a few more races: the spring classics. Just four days after the road race, Anna will start in ‘her’ Fleche Wallonne, which she’s won for the last five years. After that, it’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Amstel Gold Race and Flanders. “Those are all races that suit me well and that I’ve won before. I’m eager to see how fresh my legs will feel at that point, because our calendar is very busy and there’s little rest in between races. That’s why I’m waiting to decide if I’m gonna race Paris-Roubaix. But if I feel good, of course I will ride this cobble-classic.”