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The Dutchwoman won Giro and Tour back-to-back this year in what proved to be a dream summer of racing. She dominated both races, winning in Italy by almost two minutes and taking the Tour’s yellow jersey by nearly four.
Next season will be Van Vleuten’s last as she intends to retire at the end of the year, and she wants to go out with a bang.
“I am clear I want to race both the Giro and the Tour again,” Van Vleuten told Spanish publication El Peloton. “It is something that I have already been talking about with my coach and with my team. I still love racing in Italy, and I want to ride one more Giro.”
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Van Vleuten also intends to ride the Vuelta, which she also won this year for the second time, but not before taking on the final classics campaign of her career. The Vuelta has been moved to May to allow for the earlier date of the world championships in Glasgow.
Getting in everything she wants will require a lot of racing in the opening half of the season.
“It would be a first big block of competition from Flanders to La Vuelta, and a second block including Giro and Tour,” Van Vleuten said.
Van Vleuten will be racing the final season of her career in the rainbow bands after a dramatic victory in the road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong. She started the race with a broken elbow following a crash a few days earlier in the mixed team relay but was the best of the Dutch and caught the rest of the pack by surprise with an attack in the final kilometer.
Though she had been a favorite for the race ahead of the worlds, Van Vleuten was not expected to win after injuring herself. Few were as surprised as she was as she laid claim to her second road race rainbow jersey, after winning it in 2019.
“I couldn’t believe that he had won, and it took me several days to settle down and accept what he had really achieved,” she said. “For a full week, I continued to think that it had all been a dream and that the next morning I would wake up to find that it had not happened. It was something so incredibly crazy that I kept feeling that way for a long time.”
There is not much that Van Vleuten hasn’t won during her career and she will go down as one of the best riders of her generation. One thing that is missing from her palmarès is a UCI World Hour record, but she denied any interest in taking it on before she hangs up her racing wheels for good.
“It’s something I’ve been talking about for a long time with my coach and my team. But I so much prefer training and competing outdoors to doing it in a velodrome that it is not something for me,” she said.
“It requires so much specific preparation that it would interfere with my goals on the road. The good part is that you have to form a small team around you to prepare for the event and working in that way is something that I would find exhilarating. But I’m not going to try. Anyway, Ellen [van Dijk] has set a mark that is going to be very difficult to beat.”