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Anna van der Breggen pulls out of time trial defense at World Championships

Anna van der Breggen on her way to winning the time trial at the Imola World Championships 2020
Anna van der Breggen on her way to winning the time trial at the Imola World Championships 2020 (Image credit: Getty Image)

Reigning double World Champion Anna van der Breggen has pulled out of the individual time trial and so will not defend her title in the discipline at next week's UCI Road World Championships in Flanders, Belgium. 

The Dutch team initially registered four riders for the individual time trial to be held on September 20, which will also include former world champions Annemiek van Vleuten and Ellen van Dijk, along with Riejanne Markus. Van der Breggen secured an automatic spot after hier 2020 victory but will not be replaced.

"Anna van der Breggen has informed national coach Loes Gunnewijk she has withdrawn from the individual time trial on Monday 20 September of the world championship on the road in Flanders," read a statement published on the federation's website. 

"As title defender, she had her own starting place in the global title fight against the clock and the KNWU cannot and will not call up a replacement," 

"Van der Breggen will decide at a later stage about her possible starts at the World Championship Team Relay and in the Road Race."

Van der Breggen stated in a post on Instagram that she had decided not to race the individual time trial long ago due to a lack of motivation in an event she has had much success in during her career.

"No time trial on the upcoming world championships was a decision I made already a long time ago. Riding a time trial is something you only can do with a 100% focus and motivation, which I don’t have anymore because I am absolutely happy with all the time trials I did in the past and I have a different goal in my final worlds ... making it a good last one, helping the girls who helped me a lot in previous years," van der Breggen said.

"Blood results showed I am totally ready to take some rest, which I will do after the world championships. In the meantime, I will try to go to Flanders 2021 in the best possible shape. And enjoy all the trainings which are left in my beautiful rainbow outfit!"

Van der Breggen also holds an automatic spot for the road race on September 25 where she lines up as the defending champion. It is expected to be the final event of her career, as she is set to retire at the end of the season and become a sports director at her trade team SD Worx in 2022.

The Dutch team is set to field eight riders that also include Van Vleuten, Van Dijk, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, Lucinda Brand, Amy Pieters, Demi Vollering and Marianne Vos. Lorena Wiebes is currently recovering from a crash that happened at the Simac Ladies Tour.

Van der Breggen pulled out of the European Championships last week after struggling during the four-day Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta held from September 2-5 in Spain. She stated that physically she was not at her normal level and that she would undergo a health check to investigate any problems.

During a recent interview with Cyclingnews, Van der Breggen stated that her level of form was not as high as it normally would be ahead of the World Championships but that she was not concerned. She said her main priority was to help the team, in a support role, to secure another world title.

"I am preparing for Worlds and my racing in Spain was not that good, but for me it’s not really that important," Van der Breggen told Cyclingnews.

"I will try to be good at Worlds, but I won’t be 100 per cent how I was at the beginning of the season, but that’s fine. I feel fine and on the bike, we will see if we can make some improvements. For Worlds, I will continue training and it will be fine."

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.