Annemiek van Vleuten's seemingly unbeatable strength at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift has been made even more clear after second-placed Demi Vollering (SD Worx) claimed she was 'in the form of [her] life' but still unable to better the yellow jersey winner.
Vollering has spent most of her season focusing on preparation for the Tour de France and finished second behind Van Vleuten on stages 7 and 8. Though she missed out on the win, the SD Worx rider does not believe she could have done any more.
"I beat all my records yesterday, so I think I was in the form of my life," she said. "I felt also really good and really strong so for me, there's nothing to regret. I'm really happy with how the last two days went."
Vollering could not match Van Vleuten in the key moments of the final stages, but on Sunday evening had a balanced view of the way the race had panned out.
"Of course, I really wanted to be closer to her. Especially yesterday to lose so much time, at first I thought 'how is that possible?' because I rode so hard, but then I was like I cannot control that so I was really proud of how I was riding myself because it was the best I could do then."
Despite the yellow jersey being too big of an ask, Vollering believes SD Worx have a lot to be happy about at the end of the Tour de France Femmes.
Vollering will take home the polka dot jersey as best climber after defending her lead in the classification on Sunday, and the team won the race's gravel stage with Marlen Reusser.
"We came here with a goal and we really tried every day our best," Vollering said. "I think we did a really good Tour with the team. Lotte was two times third and one day with the green jersey on her shoulders, and Marlen had a really nice stage win. So I think we did a really good job with the whole team."
Outside of all the talk of overall positions, jerseys and stage wins, the thing that Vollering was most emotional about was being able to share her achievements with her family and in particular her father.
"It was really nice to have them here," she said. "They're not so much at my races, but to have them here in such a really cool race is really important for me. I'm really a family person so I really like to be with my family.
"My dad has had a little bit of a hard time, so I really wanted to make him proud," she continued with tears in her eyes. "And that I did."
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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.