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Dutch time trial ace Annemiek van Vleuten, 33, will leave the Bigla team after one season to join the Australian Orica-AIS outfit in 2016.
Van Vleuten won prologues at three major races in 2015: Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, Euskal Emakumeen Bira, and Giro Toscana Internationale Femminile. She also finished second at the La Flèche Wallonne Féminine this past spring.
“For me it is very motivating to be in a foreign team with a different atmosphere and culture,” van Vleuten said. “Loes [Gunnewijk] was always so positive about her experiences with ORICA-AIS that I had no doubt that I will also fit in the team. We are a bit similar. We both like to work hard, be professional and be focused in the race, but also like to be relaxed after the race.”
She also outlined some of her major goals for 2016, which include spring classics, such as Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Ronde van Drenthe, and Ronde van Vlaanderen. Van Vleuten is aiming for a spot on the Netherlands Olympic team as well.
“There doesn’t seem to be a limit to what Annemiek can do,” sport director Gene Bates said. “She has won very short prologues, she’s been the Dutch champion but wins in one-day classics, and second at Flèche Wallonne shows she is a lot more than a one-trick pony. She really wants to hit the spring classics hard, and then we will refocus for the latter part of the season. She is keen to race, and when she races, she races flat-out, and that is really aligned with what the team goals are.”