Annemiek van Vleuten said good-bye to her Mitchelton-Scott team on Sunday after five seasons with the Australian WorldTour squad, during which she won races that included Strade Bianche, La Course by Le Tour de France and the Giro Rosa, all twice each.
"It's been a great journey with this team to become a world-class rider," the European road race champion said in a social media post after finishing the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta at the weekend.
"I take away many good memories; my first [overall] win at the Giro [in 2018] is the one that stands out," the 38-year-old Dutchwoman continued. "I never believed I'd be able to achieve that before I joined Mitchelton-Scott in 2016. It's because this team believed in me."
Van Vleuten joined from the Swiss Bigla team, with whom she rode the 2015 season, having previously ridden for Dutch squad Rabobank, but has enjoyed the best results of her career in the past few years, including becoming the time trial world champion in 2017 and 2018 and the road race world champion in 2019 whole riding for the Dutch national team.
Teammate Gracie Elvin has also ridden her last race for Mitchelton-Scott, as the 31-year-old Australian will retire from the sport after eight seasons with the team.
Elvin paid tribute to her teammate and friend, Van Vleuten, on Instagram by posting a number of pictures of the two riders together, with an accompanying message.
"Yesterday [Sunday] was Annemiek van Vleuten's last race with Mitchelton-Scott, and I wanted to say a big thank you and good-bye to such an amazing woman," Elvin wrote. "She's done some amazing things on the bike, but my favorite memories of her will be all the moments of laughter, tears, hard work, team work, and friendship we've shared over the years.
"Many of my career highlights have been with her, or in support of her, and are days I will never forget – not for the result, but for how we did it as a team (and how we celebrated after!)," she continued. "I'm grateful to have shared five years with you, and excited to follow your next adventures."
Van Vleuten has signed a two-year contract with Movistar, and will join riders on the Spanish WorldTour squad that include Italy's Barbara Guarischi, former Spanish road race and time trial champion Sheila Gutiérrez and fellow new signing, US rider Leah Thomas.
“It’s been a great journey with this team to become a world class rider. I take away many good memories, my 1st win in Giro is the one stands out. I never believed I would be able to achieve this before I joined MTS in 2016. It’s because this team believed in me!!” - @AvVleuten🎙 pic.twitter.com/ADspQyZ8hENovember 9, 2020
Yesterday was @annemiekvanvleuten’s last race with @mitchelton_scott, and I wanted to say a big thank you and goodbye to such an amazing woman. She’s done some amazing things on the bike, but my favorite memories of her will be all the moments of laughter, tears, hard work, team work, and friendship we’ve shared over the years. Many of my career highlights have been with her or in support of her and days I will never forget, not for the result but how we did it as a team (and how we celebrated after!). I’m grateful to have shared 5 years with you, and excited to follow your next adventures 🌈💕 Gracie Elvin
A photo posted by @gracieelvin on Nov 9, 2020 at 12:16am PST
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