Annemiek van Vleuten has extended her contract with the Orica-Scott women's team into a fourth year, taking her through to at least the end of the 2019 season. The 34-year-old has enjoyed 12 wins since joining from the Bigla team and finished the 2017 season second on the Women's WorldTour standings.
"I feel at home with Orica-Scott and I had my best season ever this year so I am really happy to continue with them The team gives me all the support and freedom I need," van Vleuten said. "I enjoy cycling more than I ever did before and the atmosphere within Orica-Scott is one of the reasons I feel so good."
A winner of the La Route de France and Lotto-Decca Tour stage races prior to joining the Australian team, van Vleuten has become a consistent GC rider with the team, culminating in her Boels Rental Ladies Tour. She also displayed her climbing pedigree with La Course by Le Tour de France victory in July.
"I never would have thought I would be able to target general classification in a hilly stage race. Gene Bates challenged me last year to set new goals and target the Giro Rosa and it was great to have all the girls behind this idea and supporting me for 10 days, this was very special," van Vleuten added. "I've developed into more of a GC rider this year and this is thanks to the team and my teammates and now I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve next year together."
While there remains a strong Australian core at Orica-Scott, including Gracie Elvin, Amanda Spratt and Katrin Garfoot, sports director Gene Bates explained van Vleuten is a key rider and is glad to have secured her for two more seasons.
"We are very pleased that Annemiek has chosen to stay with our team for 2018. Annemiek is a vital part of our team, both on and off the bike. Her professional approach and 'never give in' attitude is something that we really value in our group," Bates said. "We are excited about lifting the bar again next year and working on new challenges together."
Van Vleuten is racing the Bergen Worlds this week, telling Cyclingnews on the eve of the championships that she is aiming for the road race and time trial double.