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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 27, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Annemiek van Vleuten wins fourth Dutch time trial championship

Van Vleuten's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten has powered her way to her fourth national time trial in dominant fashion in Ede, Netherlands. The 36-year-old was fastest at the first time check and never looked back as she increased her lead over the 31.8-kilometre to course to take the win by 1’35”.

Armed with a special livery on her new SCOTT Plasma machine to commemorate her 2018 world title triumph in Innsbruck, Van Vleuten started amongst the favourites for the 2019 national crown.

And she showed why at the first intermediate check point when she stormed through 20-seconds up on her nearest rival and 2018 champion Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo).

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annmiek van Vleuten shows how it is done at the 2019 Strade Bianche

After starting strongly, attention then turned to the next time split to see if Van Vleuten could maintain her advantage, but instead the Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner increased it, taking another than 34-seconds out of her competition.

Despite holding a 54-second advantage, Van Vleuten showed no signs of slowing down as she continued to put more distance between herself and her rivals over the flat course.

The 2018 Giro Rosa champion crossed the finish line fastest, in a time of 39:14, with just three riders left to finish. But it was a short wait for confirmation as Van Dijk crossed the line 1’35” down, giving Van Vleuten her fourth national TT title in emphatic style.

Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I’m always nervous before the start of a time trial, also today, but I think that’s necessary because that shows that you care and that you’re eager to win, because the only way to win a time trial is to suffer to the maximum.”

“You have to suffer to the max to win, especially in the Netherlands where the top three from the world championships were on the start line today. But I was still quite confident because I’ve had a good preparation heading into the Giro, but it wasn’t a course that suited me perfectly and my last time trial was at the World Championships in Innsbruck.”

“Last year I went out to slow but this year I went out super-fast and I could maintain my speed and at every intermediate I took seconds. I was fastest all the way. It’s always special to be on the podium and take the red, white and blue, I was disappointed last year but it was nice to take it this year riding in the rainbow bands.”

“It’s nice to win but it’s even better to win by more than 1’30” ahead of Van Dijk, she was second at the World Championships, so I take confidence out of this. I’m going to enjoy this one and bring on the Giro!”

Dutch National Time Trial Championship Results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 39:14
2. Ellen va Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) +1:35
3. Anna van der Breggen (Boels - Dolmans) +1:49

Jos van Emden wins Dutch time trial title

Van Emden's Jumbo-Visma team sent me this report:

Jos van Emden has conquered the Dutch time trial title for the second time in his career. The 34-year-old rider of Team Jumbo-Visma was eight seconds faster than number two Langeveld. It is his second season win for Van Emden, after he won the prologue in the ZLM Tour last week. It is the 32nd victory of this season for Team Jumbo-Visma.

Jos van Emden

Jos van Emden time trialing at the ZLM Tour.

“I think this is one of the nicest jerseys there is”, a happy Van Emden said. “It almost became an obsession for me to win here again. If it wouldn’t have worked out, I would have found it a loss. I did not anticipate this victory though. Yesterday, I did not feel too good due to the heat, so my confidence dropped. I am not satisfied with my time trial, but I kept fighting until the end and that resulted in this jersey. I partly owe this victory to Mathieu Heijboer. He puts a lot of time and energy in me and this discipline and he knows how much I wanted to win. I trust him blindly.”

Head of performance Heijboer called it an emotional victory. “Jos often gets beaten by a small margin. The fact that we succeeded today is one of the highlights of the year. We have invested a lot of time in this discipline. We went to the wind tunnel and tested new material from our partners. As a result, Jos’s position was adjusted somewhat and this resulted in a faster time trial. He is an essential link in the team, also for the victories of Primoz in the past six months. But in addition, the fire for time trialing continues to burn within him. It will never go away and we will continue to improve.”

Heijboer will assist Wout van Aert in the Belgian championship tomorrow. “After the spring, we trained a lot on the time trial with Wout. This resulted in a great victory in the Dauphiné. Hopefully he can take the Belgian jersey tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow we also have a good chance with Tony Martin in Germany. One of the reasons that Tony came to ride for this team is that he brings a lot of knowledge about the time trial. In that respect, Jos’s title may also be due to him. Tony has given the time trial a new impulse in our team.”

Team Astana's Tour de France roster

Here's Astana's announcement:

At the Grand Départ of the 2019 Tour de France next week, Astana Pro Team will start with Jakob Fuglsang as its leader. He will be supported by Alexey Lutsenko, Gorka Izagirre, Pello Bilbao, Magnus Cort, Luis Leon Sanchez, Omar Fraile, and Hugo Houle. “With this strong and experienced team, we are ready to fight for the best possible result”, says sports director Dmitriy Fofonov, who will be accompanied by sports directors Bruno Cenghialta and Lars Michaelsen.

Jakob Fuglsang

Jakob Fuglsang just won the Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

With a combined 13 Grand Tour stage wins and Jakob Fuglsang winning this year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Critérium du Dauphiné, this team knows how to perform says Dmitriy Fofonov: "It's a strong and experienced team. Only Hugo Houle and Pello Bilbao will ride their first Tour de France. With Hugo Houle, we have someone who knows how to work for the team and he works well together with Jakob Fuglsang. Pello Bilbao is a very strong climber, as we could see in the Giro d'Italia where he won two stages, we definitely need him in this Tour de France as there will be a lot of climbing."

Combined, the riders of this team have 22 Tour de France starts, of which Jakob Fuglsang (8) and Luis Leon Sanchez (8) are the most experienced riders of the team in 'La Grande Boucle'. "In the end, only one can win the Tour de France, we will see where this team will be capable of. We are ready to fight for the best possible result, that's for sure", said sports director Dmitriy Fofonov.

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