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Current world champion Annemiek van Vleuten cannot wait to return to racing, and she has a full schedule of events crammed into the final months of the season. Starting with the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa on July 23, van Vleuten will then do the Clasica Femenina Navarra on July 24, and Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria on the 26th, before lining up for her first big objective the Strade Bianche on August 1 — just one of the many races she won last year.
“We just have to take it race by race at the moment,” she said in a virtual press conference organized by her Mitchelton-Scott team on Monday. “I want to be good for Strade Bianche, and then I just keep my fingers crossed that everything will still be on the program. Then I look forward to La Course by le Tour de France and then it will just be full gas and I will just be super lucky to do every race we can do.”
Van Vleuten is pleased that La Course by Le Tour will now be on a hilly 96-kilometer circuit around Nice rather than the flat circuit around the Champs-Elysées that was originally scheduled.
“This course is much better for me. But really I am taking it race by race and am focusing on the Strade Bianche first. I know that a lot of race routes are changing. But really I am not stressed about that. My biggest worry is that the races actually happen as scheduled.” Van Vleuten said from her altitude training camp in Passo Foscagno, Italy. “I just want to come into the racing in the best shape possible. I am really crossing my fingers that all the races will happen now.”
One thing that the 37-year-old is not focused on is any potential retirement, as the Dutch champion feels that she is still at the summit of her career. “Stopping would be my nightmare. I love cycling so much. I love the lifestyle, the training, being out on my bike, being on the road. Last year I had my best hour of racing at the world championships. I am not on the decline yet, not at all. And until then, I won’t consider retiring. I hope to inspire people and show them that you can have your best years late in your career.”
Van Vleuten in fact is studying numerous options for the upcoming season. And while she is committed to her current Mitchelton-Scott team, she says flatly, “I don’t know where I will be next year but I know I will race.”
Annemiek van Vleuten’s 2020 racing calendar
July 23: Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa
July 24: Clasica Femenina Navarra
July 26: Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria
August 1: Strade Bianche
August 29: La Course by Le Tour de France
September 1 – 6: Boels Ladies Tour
September 11 – 19: Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile
September 26: Women’s World Championship Road Race
September 30: La Flèche Wallonne Féminine
October 4: Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes
October 10: Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition
October 18: Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres
October 25: Paris-Roubaix Femmes
November 6 – 8: Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta