Annemiek van Vleuten storms to World Time Trial title

Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands produced a masterful performance in Bergen to claim the 2017 elite women’s World Time Trial title.

The highly-fancied Van Vleuten beat compatriot Anna van der Breggen by 12 seconds, with Australia’s Katrin Garfoot in third a further seven seconds behind.

“I can’t believe it,” a tearful Van Vleuten said. “To be world champion in the TT, I never thought it would be, but this year I’ve started to believe.”

A nasty climb at the end of the course was always likely to challenge the usual time trial specialists, but Van Vleuten negotiated the ascent in slippery conditions to claim a well-deserved world title.

The 34-year-old Van Vleuten suffered a horrific crash in last year’s Olympic Road Race in Rio de Janeiro, fracturing her back in three places and ending up in intensive care.

But less than a year later she stormed to victory in La Course (the two-day Tour de France for female riders) and has now added a rainbow jersey to her collection.

“The downs make the ups more beautiful, makes it really special,” the Dutchwoman added.

“It was hard because it started pouring with rain and I lost some seconds on the descents. I thought the weather would disturb my race form, but I focussed on what I do.”

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