Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) is dominating women's cycling, adding victory at Strade Bianche to her hat trick in Spain. She seems to enjoy suffering out front on the attack as she tries to win as much as possible.
"I realise it can be the last race ... As we say in the Netherlands: Pakke wat jer pakken kan - You've got to take all that you can," she said, praising the security measures in place at women's races but aware of that the pandemic could stop racing yet again.
"You never know what will happen, so you have to keep winning and I hope to show my legs in the next race too; I hope all the WorldTour races will follow on from here."
Van Vleuten seems to devour every victory. But winning is never easy, even for her.
"People think I win a lot but it’s only six or seven races a year and some. Winning is really beautiful. Winning so much is really not normal, this is really exception. I've won three race in a row and still cannot believe it," she explained.
"It could have been hard to stay motivated during the COVID lockdown but I kept going and had a lot of fun riding my bike in these times. It actually gave me a lot of energy. I felt that today, but winning is never easy, especially in these races."
She especially enjoys winning in the world champion's rainbow jersey.
"People talk of the curse of the rainbow jersey, so to win straight away, in the first races, makes it special. I proved it's not a coincidence that I'm World Champion. I proved I'm in a good shape and I'm proud to be a worthy World Champion, also for the team ands have Mitchelton-Scott on the rainbow jersey."
Van Vleuten appears have raised the bar in women's cycling by training harder and longer. But she insisted she also enjoy life.
"Some people think that I spend a lot of time alone in the mountains. I like training in the mountains but also I enjoy family time too and enjoy life," she insisted.
"My approach before was to train for four fours hours because we raced for four hours. With my coach we took a different approach to challenge and stress my body to get as fit as possible. I don’t skip coffee stops on rides or live on the limit, I like to work hard but I enjoy life and I'm happy with this balance. I'm 37 but I'm still enjoying cycling."
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