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Movistar back van Vleuten’s Tour de France Femmes ambitions

NINOVE BELGIUM FEBRUARY 26 Annemiek Van Vleuten of Netherlands and Movistar Team Women poses at podium with race trophy as winner after the 17th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2022 Womens Race a 128km race from Ghent to Ninove OHN22 FlandersClassic WorldTour on February 26 2022 in Ninove Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten will have the support of Emma Norsgaard, Arlenis Sierra, Paula Patiño, Aude Biannic and Sheyla Gutiérrez as she targets the Tour de France Femmes, with Movistar opting for the same core squad that helped van Vleuten win the recent Giro Donne.    

The men’s Movistar team has ridden the Tour de France for 40 years and the Spanish team is taking aim at the women’s race this year.  

“Present at every men's edition with no absences since 1983, the Movistar Team simply couldn't miss the reboot of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, which starts in Paris on Sunday 24th and will end atop La Super Planche des Belles Filles on July 31st,” the team said when it named its riders. 

“The 'Grande Boucle', which the Telefónica-backed squad hopes to turn into the zenith of its progression after five years in the bunch and a plethora of success, will be another great opportunity for most of the roster that brilliantly conquered the recent Giro Donne.”

The only change in their six-rider Movistar team for the Tour de France Femmes compared to the winning Giro Donne team is the selection of Spanish sprinter Sheyla Gutiérrez, who replaces Jelena Eric.  

Norsgaard and Sierra will probably have the freedom to target stage victories on sprint and hilly days before helping van Vleuten in the decisive mountain stages. Patiño will be vital for Van Vleuten in the mountains, while Biannic will also play a supporting role.

Van Vleuten is chasing a historic Giro-Tour double but refuses to become obsessed about the new Tour de France Femmes even if it will further transform the sport.     

“For me, personally, there’s not a big difference between targeting the Giro and the Tour de France but the people around me, they only talk about the Tour de France,” she said recently, trying to contain the hype and expectations around the new women’s Grand Tour.   

“They need to wake up a little bit also because we have more important races than the Tour de France.” 

Van Vleuten announced she would retire after the 2023 season whilst simultaneously revealing that she would remain with Movistar, for the final season of her career.

"Although there is always going to have to be a point when I leave racing, and in my mind it’s best to stop when I’m still at the top, fighting for the wins in the biggest races,” share said.

"I want to quit while I'm at the top, and it’s best to do it when I'm with this wonderful team."

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