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Van Vleuten re-ups with Orica – AIS

Dutch time trial champ Annemiek van Vleuten will ride on with Orica in 2017

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Dutch time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten has re-signed with Orica – AIS for next year, the Australian-based team announced via a release.

Van Vleuten, 33, won the women’s Tour of Flanders and the overall World Cup title in 2011 as a member of Nederland Bloeit, now Rabobank – Liv. She left Rabo – Liv to join Bigla Pro Cycling in 2015, before signing with Orica for the 2016 season, delivering strong results throughout the year. She finished in the top 10 in five one-day races on the Women’s WorldTour and claimed the Dutch national TT title and a number of other victories, including the overall win at Lotto Belgium Tour last month.

Van Vleuten’s most memorable moment from the season, however, may have come not in an Orica jersey but as a member of the Dutch squad in Rio. On the final descent of the women’s road race, van Vleuten enjoyed a commanding lead and appeared to be on her way to a gold medal when she crashed at a curve in the road, suffering serious injuries.

In van Vleuten’s absence, her teammate Anna van der Breggen ultimately went on to take the victory for the Netherlands. Van Vleuten spent weeks recovering before returning to racing, picking up where she left off with two stage wins and the GC win in the Belgium Tour.

“The experience I had at the Rio Olympic Games made me think again about my goals for 2017. I never thought I would be able to follow the best climbers uphill and even drop them,” van Vleuten said via the release.

“At 33 years of age I realized I have talents that I was not aware of. Therefore, next season with Orica – AIS I will focus more on uphill races and time trialing.”