Anna van der Breggen is going to continue her venture into mountain bike racing early this season with a ride at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. Organisers confirmed that the Olympic road race champion would take part in the Afxentia stage race at the end of this month.
She will join three former Olympic mountain bike champions in Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa, Sabine Spitz, and Jaroslav Kulhavý, who also took silver in Rio last year. In 2016, Dahle-Flesjaa dominated the Sunshine Cup to beat Adelheid Morath to the overall victory. Other winners include Annika Langvad and Jolanda Neff.
Van der Breggen's former teammate and compatriot Marianne Vos competed in the Afxentia in 2013 as the newly-crowned Olympic Champion and went on to win the title.
"We are very pleased to be able to experience the Olympian Road Race Champion at Afxentia and are curious to see if she will be as strong as Marianne Vos at the time," said Mike Hadjioannou of Bikin'Cyprus.
The four-day Afxentia race, which will take place between February 23 and 26, will be Van der Breggen's second mountain bike outing in 2017 after racing at the Costa Blanca Bike Race last month. The Dutchwoman partnered with up-and-coming rider Margot Moschetti for her first ever competitive outing on the mountain bike, and the pair dominated the race, winning the elite women's category on every stage and taking the overall title by just over 30 minutes.
Van der Breggen has yet to confirm where she will start her road campaign in 2017. The 26-year-old enjoyed a superb 2016 with victory in the Olympic road race, a silver medal in the time trial, and a win at the European Championships. A second Fleche Wallonne title also came last year, as did a third place at the Giro d'Italia. Van der Breggen will ride for Boels Dolmans this season after making the switch over the winter.