Olympic Race Report: Annemiek van Vleuten is the new Olympic time trial champion. The Dutch rider was by far the best against the clock around the Fuji Speedway. Silver went to Switzerland and Marlen Reusser, Anna van der Breggen took the bronze for the Netherlands.
All went well for Annemiek Van Vleuten
The 38-year-old Annemiek van Vleuten dealt with the series of setbacks that the Dutch cycling selection had to deal with. After the miscommunication in the road race, where she thought she had won, but took silver, the collision of Niek Kimann and ‘the board of Mathieu van der Poel’, she won the first cycling gold for the Netherlands in the 2020(1) Olympic Games.
The women’s TT course: The women start and finish on the Fuji International Speedway race track. After 2.5 kilometres the riders leave the Fuji circuit for the climb of the day. At 10.3 kilometres the route reach the top of the climb, 1.5 kilometres long with an average gradient of 6.3%. After the summit, they descend back to the circuit, where they complete a lap for 22.1 kilometres.
Belgium’s Julie Van de Velde
Twenty-five riders started in the Olympic battle against the clock. Belgian Julie Van de Velde, who started second, crossed the finish line first in a time of 34:23.49. On the course, she soon passed the Somalian Masomah Alizada who had started first. The first serious target time was recorded by the Frenchwoman Juliette Labous with 32:42.14.
A hard ride for Lisa Brennauer
At that time, Van Vleuten had already started her race. Despite a shifting error at the start, she was already 40 seconds faster than her fastest predecessor Amber Neben at the first intermediate point. It became apparent that only a major setback could keep her from a gold medal.
4th place for Grace Brown
Chloe Dygert, who was also among the favourites, had a disappointing ride. The 2019 World time trial champion in Yorkshire could not match Van Vleuten’s time. After 9.7 kilometres the gap of the American was already almost 52 seconds. The Australian Grace Brown eventually clocked the second time at the intermediate point. Van der Breggen, who had started last, recorded the third time and had lost 19 seconds.
No problems today for Annemiek Van Vleuten
The differences then only increased. No signs of any drop in speed from Van Vleuten. At the second intermediate point, the difference rose to half a minute. All other time trial champions never came close to her time.
Second place for Marlen Reusser
At the finish line, the lead was even more impressive. Van Vleuten stopped the clock at 30:13.49, with an average speed of 43.9 kilometres per hour. After that it was just a matter of waiting for someone to threaten her gold medal, but it soon became clear that was not going to happen.
Third for Anna van der Breggen
Just like at the previous Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Van der Breggen took the bronze. In the last part of the time trial she was unable to reduce the difference on Van Vleuten. At the finish, the Swiss time trial specialist Reusser also turned out to be a few seconds faster than the Dutch rider who is in her last season.
It all came good for Van Vleuten
Gold medalist, Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands): “Oh, this is great, so beautiful that it works. I sacrificed so much for this, this is the ultimate reward. The realisation may come tonight. My story started in Rio. And although it doesn’t end here, because I’m not going to stop, it is now complete. After the road race it was only about the miscommunication, not about my performance, but I knew I was good. Then things can still go wrong in the time trial because you start thinking about mistakes, but I was in a good flow today and didn’t think about what could go wrong.”
The three medal winners – Annemiek Van Vleuten, Marlen Reusser and Anna van der Breggen
Olympic Games – Women’s Time Trial Result:
1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) in 30:13.49
2. Marlen Reusser (Swi) at 56.47
3. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) at 1:01.63
4. Grace Brown (Aus) at 1:08
5. Amber Neben (USA) at 1:12
6. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) at 1:57
7. Chloe Dygert (USA) at 2:16
8. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (RSA) at 2:24
9. Juliette Labous (Fra) at 2:28
10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) at 2:47
11. Sarah Gigante (Australia) at 2:48
12. Leah Kirchmann (Canada)
13. Lisa Klein (Germany)
14. Karol-ann Canuel (Canada) at 2:54
15. Omer Shapira (Israel) at 3:02
16. Alena Amialiusik (Belarus) at 3:07
17. Emma Cecilie Jørgensen (Denmark) at 3:36
18. Anna Shackley (Great Britain) at 4:00
19. Julie Van de Velde (Belgium) at 4:10
20. Katrine Aalerud (Norway) at 4:19
21. Christine Majerus (Luxembourg) at 4:20
22. Eri Yonamine (Japan) at 4:21
23. Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spain) at 4:26
24. Anna Plichta (Poland) at 4.43
25. Masomah Ali Zada (Refugee Olympic Team) at 13:50.