Annemiek van Vleuten is soon to return to racing as she completes her recovery from a broken wrist, but it won’t be at the Dutch Road Championships. For the first time in 15 years the 39 year-old will miss a chance to compete for the blue, white and red jersey of the national road race champion, as in 2022 the Movistar rider instead has her sights firmly set on pink and yellow.
“I am now really training again and that also means that there will be competitions again soon,” said Van Vleuten on her website. “In doing so, I chose not to ride the Dutch National Championships.”
“That is for two reasons; I want to prepare myself optimally and move forward in optimal form to the Giro and Tour de France, where the Dutch National Championships do not fit in for me.”
Van Vleuten, who won the national road race title in 2012 and has also taken the time trial national title four times, pointed out that the course for the June 25 race is not one that plays to her strengths. That is particularly important given she is the only Dutch Movistar rider, so would be flying solo at the race.
“If they had organized it [the Dutch National Championships] in South Limburg, I would have come back for it,” said Van Vleuten. “But with a course that has also become a bit easier compared to last year, with the VAM mountain less often, I want to focus on main goals.”
Van Vleuten, who broke her wrist in a training accident in late April, hasn’t lined up at a race since taking victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes earlier that month. The first race on her site calendar is now the Giro d’Italia Donne, which starts on June 30 and runs through to July 10.
“The goal is to ride for the classification in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France and that will be quite challenging,” said Van Vleuten.
It’s the first year the two-time Giro d’Italia Donne winner has had a chance to pursue both, after the return of a women’s Tour de France following a long absence, with eight stages running from July 24 to July 31.
Despite the fact Van Vleuten is focussing on taking out the pink jersey of the overall winner of the Giro for a third time as well as yellow at the Tour de France Femmes, she said her heart was still in one day racing.
“The difficult thing about a multi-day event is that you have many ‘negative goals’,” wrote Van Vleuten. “In eight days of Tour de France you have nothing to gain and only to lose for the first six days. That means staying out of trouble and saving energy. You simply cannot fly in if you go for a ranking.
“As I said; I can ride a classification and that’s why I do it, but my heart is more with flying like Mathieu van der Poel. It’s no different for the Giro. Also there I will have to stay out of trouble for the first few days and I see it only getting really difficult in the last few days.”