The Dutch national team has announced a luxury four-rider team to compete in the women's road race and time trial at the Tokyo Olympic Games, held from July 23 through August 8. Defending Olympic Champion and double World Champion Anna van der Breggen will lead the team that also includes Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos and Demi Vollering.
The Dutch Federation announced the team on Tuesday with national team coach Loes Gunnewijk stating that the selected group will aim to secure the highest possible result in Tokyo.
“That is our emphatic common goal. We have a very strong group of cyclists at our disposal, from which we could select three full-fledged Olympic teams. That is really a luxury position. Ultimately, a team was chosen that is prepared for all scenarios," Gunnewijk said.
The UCI announced, last year, the National Olympic Committees that have qualified for the men's and women's road events during the Olympic Games, prior to the event's postponement by one year due to COVID-19.
The men's road race will field 130 riders and the women's road race will field 67. Netherlands was one of five nations to secure top quota of four riders including Australia, Germany, Italy, and the United States.
The elite women's 137km road race will be held on July 25, starting from Musashinonomori Park and ending at the Fuji International Speedway. The women's course will not go over Mt. Fuji like the men's but will include climbs over Donushi Road and Kagosaka Pass, and total 2,692 metres of climbing.
Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten will also race in the elite women's 22.1km individual time trial, to be held on July 28.
"A very difficult course with 2,800 vertical meters and high humidity awaits the riders. We are one of the favorites, but we are used to that and the riders can handle it very well," Gunnewijk said.
It will be Vos' fourth participation in the Olympic Games. She won the gold medal in the Points Race on the track in 2008 Beijing and the gold medal in the road race in 2012 London. Van der Breggen won the gold medal in the road race and bronze medal in the time trial at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Van Vleuten will embark on her third time competing at the Olympic Games and Demi Vollering will make her debut in Tokyo.
All four riders have had an incredible run during the Spring Classics with Vos winning Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold Race, Van Vleuten winning Tour of Flanders, Van der Breggen winning Flèche Wallonne and Vollering winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"It remains sports, there are no guarantees in advance," Gunnewijk said of the Tokyo Olympic Games. "All the puzzle pieces must fall together that day, but we leave with one goal: that is gold and a third consecutive title. In the time trial we also have a chance for the highest possible result with two of the best time trial women in the world. So we are going to Tokyo with great ambition.”
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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.
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