Story: Andrew Amos Photo: TDW Sport.
Annemiek van Vleuten’s crash at Rio was horrific. However, it only seemed to spur her on. Only one month after breaking her spine during the Olympics Road Race, she was back on her bike and on form. She finished her 2016 season with a win in her return race, the Lotto Belgium Tour, ahead of Marianne Vos. But in 2017, she’s gone from great to legendary. She has proven herself as one of the best climbers in the Women’s World Tour, taking stages at the Giro Rosa on slopes of 27%, winning atop the Col d’Izoard in La Course, and conquering the hilly Individual Time Trial at Worlds in Bergen. In all her Women’s World Tour participations, she has only failed to finish in the top 5 twice. She finished 2nd on the Women’s World Tour rankings behind her compatriot – and winner of that fateful Rio Road Race – Anna van der Breggen. In her homeland of the Netherlands, she won the Boels Rental Ladies Tour in September, as well as the National Time Trial Championships. As an Orica-Scott rider however, and as an ambassador for Ride WA, her second home is Australia. She loves riding Down Under, winning the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race back in January. Her return to form is nothing short of spectacular, producing her best season ever in 2017. She finishes it off in November at the Tour of Margaret River, as a World champion, where you can expect her to blow everyone away up the Mur du Hay.