World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) is aiming to add a fourth national time trial title in the Dutch Road Championships this weekend and has extra motivation because the event is being held close to her home in Wageningen. Van Vleuten will debut her rainbow jersey in the 31.8km women's race on Wednesday in Ede.
The 36-year-old wrote on her personal website, "I think it's super nice to be able to ride this Dutch time trial in my own 'backyard' and also in my rainbow jersey. That will also be the first time this season because the Dutch Championship will be my first time trial of the year."
"I have ridden the road that we are travelling on at least a hundred times. The course is not technical. We are actually racing back and forth on the same road," she added.
Van Vleuten will head down the start ramp at 1:05 in hopes of adding a fourth title to her palmares. She has won the title in 2014, 2015 and 2017, but faces a tough field of competitors including defending champion Ellen van Dijk, road world champion Anna van der Breggen, and last year's bronze medalist Lucinda Brand.
It will be the first time this season that Van Vleuten will race on her new Scott Plasma time trial bike. Van Vleuten's early season consisted mainly of one-day Classics as she built her form back from a fractured tibia from a crash in last year's World Championships road race. She won her second race of the season, Strade Bianche, then followed up that victory with podiums in the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and finally another win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. There were no time trials in the two stage races she competed in - the Tour de Yorkshire and Emakumeen Bira.
Van Vleuten revealed the details of her new time trial setup's look: "It is a new design for the Scott Plasma world champion edition. There is a lot of glitter and glamour on the bike, with nice Dutch details such as clogs, tulips and windmills. And also some more clear rainbow colours topped with glitter. The bicycle is therefore also worth looking at."
Although she hasn't raced since the end of May, Van Vleuten says she is ready for the championships. "I have had good preparation at altitude and will be at the start with confidence. It is a very fair time trial course, where the one with the most power in the legs is going to win. There are only four turns in the course. It is 15 km to Otterloo / Hoenderloo, return on the same road and back to Ede. I expect that we will be riding at a high average speed; certainly above 48 kilometres per hour, I think!”