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Bobby & Jens podcast: Behind the scenes with Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten discusses rain, beer, pasta, and the benefits of riding by feel instead of riding by numbers.

Annemiek van Vleuten is known for her spontaneous and attacking style — as well as her big wins.

On this week’s show van Vleuten joins Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt to discuss her evolution as a cyclist from her early, more data-obsessed days. She explains her almost-accidental entry into the sport after repeated knee injuries forced her to the soccer sidelines. Making a relatively late entry into cycling — and earning a Master’s degree in epidemiology on the side — van Vleuten had to bear down on the numbers to catch up with her more-experienced peers.

And catch up she did, winning three world titles and numerous stage and one-day races — with her big breakthrough coming in 2012 with a Tour of Flanders victory. Since then, she’s enjoyed a remarkably consistent position in the top ranks of the peloton. It’s a combination of nutrition and discipline, she tells Bobby and Jens, although she notes that she feels zero guilt snacking on potato chips. She also explains the benefit of living and training in a rainy, windy environment after choosing not to relocate to Girona or another sunny spot. When you learn to love riding in the rain, she says, the occasional foul-weather race day puts you at an advantage.

One thing you didn’t know:
Here’s why Annemiek van Vleuten spent the last few weeks underwater

What does Van Vleuten’s future hold? She shares her thoughts on the state of women’s cycling and her commitment to advocating for more equity in everything from pay to race options to team food. The sport has come a long way for women, she says, with huge advances in training, team investments, and visibility, but still lags far behind the men’s peloton in every important measure of support.

She also shares her thoughts on the return of women’s Tour de France next year and her excitement about joining Movistar to work with young talent and prepare a possible future in coaching.

More good reading:
Building the next generation: Move to Movistar means more than winning for Annemiek van Vleuten
Women’s Tour of Flanders: Annemiek van Vleuten fends off chase in solo victory
Annemiek van Vleuten starts new chapter at Team Movistar training camp

Today’s episode also features analysis of a busy week of racing at the Giro d’Italia, plus the winner of this week’s “Shut Up, Legs!” winner (and your chance to vote on next week’s contenders).

“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly podcast from VeloNews starring former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt, and featuring conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.

Send your questions and “Shut Up, Legs!” votes to BobbyandJens@VeloNews.com or @bobbyandjens.