Annemiek Van Vleuten has re-signed with Orica-AIS, with the former Tour of Flanders winner impressing during her first season with the team.
“My first year with ORICA-AIS was a great experience. The professionalism and atmosphere in the team is something that suits my drive and motivation and the way I want to achieve my goals,” the 33-year-old said in a statement released by her team.
“One of my best personal experiences this year was preparing for the Dutch national time trial with help of Pat Ryan our team mechanic. I won the 30kilometre event with an average speed of 48.2kilometres/hour. I never thought I would be able to ride so fast.”
The former Bigla and Rabobank rider has enjoyed a successful career, taking several stage races, including the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour twice (2014 and 2016) as well as La Route de France in 2010. She has also won three stages in the women’s Giro d’italia, the last of which came in 2015. This season she has been a consistent performer in both stage races and the one-day Classics.
“We are very excited to have Annemiek back with us for 2017,” sport director Gene Bates added.
“From the start of this season Annemiek has fitted in perfectly with our team and culture. She achieved great victories for ORICA-AIS this year at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, Auensteiner Radsportage and the national championship time trial, so we are very excited about what she can do in 2017.
“Annemiek brings amazing energy, consistency, leadership and professionalism to our team and we couldn’t be more excited about starting the 2017 season with her.”
Along with picking up her own results, Orica-AIS were keen to re-sign the rider due her continued commitment to work for others within the team.
“When Gracie Elvin won Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, it was one of my best team experiences,” Van Vleuten continued. “We were in control all day and I enjoyed every minute of the race together with the team.”
“I was so proud when Gracie finished it off after all our super teamwork and I hope we will rock like that next year from the start of the classic season.
Van Vleuten was also marked by her high-speed crash at the Olympic Games. She had been in the lead of the road race before a crash on the final descent robbed her of the chance to medal. She luckily escaped without any life threatening injuries and has found fresh perspective since the accident.
“The experience I had at the Rio Olympic Games made me think again about my goals for 2017. I never thought I would be able to follow the best climbers uphill and even drop them,” Van Vleuten revealed.
"At 33-years of age I realised I have talents that I was not aware of. Therefore, next season with ORICA-AIS I will focus more on uphill races and time trialing.
"I am very happy we will continue to use Scott bikes next year, their time trial bike is really fast and I have great support from the team with my preparations for time trial events."