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Anna van der Breggen primed for second rainbow jersey at Imola Worlds

SANMARCOLACATOLA ITALY SEPTEMBER 18 Podium Anna Van Der Breggen of The Netherlands and Boels Dolmans Cycling Team Pink Leader Jersey Celebration Champagne during the 31st Giro dItalia Internazionale Femminile 2020 Stage 8 a 915km stage from Castelnuovo della Daunia to San Marco la Catola 640m GiroRosaIccrea GiroRosa on September 18 2020 in San Marco la Catola Italy Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Anna Van Der Breggen of Boels Dolmans Cycling Team celebrates Pink Leader Jersey at Giro Rosa (Image credit: Getty Images)

Anna van der Breggen is primed to win a second world title at the 2020 UCI Road World Championships after securing the overall win at the Giro Rosa on Saturday at Motta Montecorvino, Italy. The Dutch champion, who won the world title in Innsbruck two years ago, will lead the Dutch national team in Imola, after Annemiek van Vleuten was sidelined due to a fractured wrist.  

She secured the Giro Rosa overall victory at the end of nine stages on Saturday and said she was ready to fight for the rainbow jersey in both the elite women’s time trial on September 24 and the road race on September 26.

“I’m feeling quite well now and the climbing is going well so I’m actually happy that it’s pretty close now,” van der Breggen said of the imminent World Championships, which will be contested over a hilly parcours in Imola. 

The UCI were forced to cancel the original location of the World Championships in Aigle-Martigny, Switzerland, scheduled for September 20-27, that included all categories: women’s and men’s junior, men’s under-23, and women’s and men’s elite time trials and road races. The sport governing body later announced Imola, located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, as the replacement location and that organisers would only host the elite men’s and women’s events across four days.

“I’m going to fight for it and see where it goes,” van der Breggen said of the 143km road race course that features 2,800 metres of climbing.

During the short period between the end of the Giro Rosa and Thursday’s time trial, van der Breggen said she would, “just take some recovery.” 

The Dutch team will include Marianne Vos, Demi Vollering, Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak, Amy Pieters, Ellen van Dijk and Floortje Mackaij. Defending champion van Vleuten will not take the start line after she fractured her wrist during a crash on stage 7 of the Giro Rosa.

“We didn’t speak to each other yet," van der Breggen said of the national team headed to Imola, "because we are just with the [trade] team [at the Giro Rosa] … but we still have a lot of quite strong riders.”

Despite the race for the maglia rosa during the final two stages being tainted by the loss of van Vleuten, van der Breggen was still happy to take the win. It is her third overall victory at the Giro Rosa after winning the titles in 2015 and 2017.

“It’s always nice to win the Giro and today a big thanks to my team because I didn’t do too much today on the front and they were totally controlled,” she said. 

The peloton, which contained all of the main contenders, let a break of 26 riders go. That breakaway, at one point, extended their lead on the bunch to over four minutes before splitting into smaller groups. 

Were it not for the breakaway, van der Breggen said it would have been a more challenging final to the Giro Rorsa. 

"Probably attacks would still come all the time and that would make it a really hard day and not so much controlled," she said. "We thought the break was quite fine for us because the [highest placed rider on GC] was nine minutes so it gave a lot more control for us.”

Reflecting on the tough and varied racing over the nine stages, van der Breggen added, “It was a really nice parcours over the nine days, but for the sprinters, maybe not that much.”

There are sure to be celebrations in the Boels Dolman’s camp this evening, although the 30-year-old said, “I’m not really a champagne lover but we’re going to eat pizza and I think we have gelato when I get back to the bus. It’s always nice the night after the Giro, we go to Rome and have a hotel together and celebrate.”