Annemiek Van Vleuten installed herself in the pantheon of cycling greats after making history as the inaugural winner of the Tour de France Femmes, which she described as a ‘dream come true’.
The Dutchman did so in style, confirming her spectacular solo triumph in the Vosges on Saturday – when she claimed a lead of more than three minutes over her nearest rival – with a furious attack on the famous La Super Planche des Belles Filles.
The 39-year-old, who also won the Giro Donne last month, only had to keep up with the pack to advance her glittering road racing career after her “miracle ride” the day before, but produced a flamboyant finish to be crowned to become the first female Tour winner in 33 years.
It marked a special, Lazarus-esque turn of events for the 39-year-old, who had suffered from a stomach flu at the beginning of the week that she was unable to pack her own suitcase.
“Winning in yellow at the top, wow,” said Van Vleuten, who said she would celebrate by eating ice cream and pizza. “It was not an easy stage. It was not an easy week. It’s been a super big roller coaster for me, and even today it hasn’t been easy. To end here, solo, that’s the best way.
“I’m super proud to be the first women’s Tour de France winner when he’s back on the calendar, in this new version. I hope it’s a good start and that we can build this event into a bigger event for women. It is a milestone to win this first.”