Annemiek van Vleuten, the time trial world champion, has given her seal of approval to the route of the forthcoming World Championships in Innsbruck. Van Vleuten is currently enjoying a break from racing following the Ardennes Classics last month and has taken the opportunity to pay a short visit to Austria.
Van Vleuten claimed her first world title in Bergen last year with victory in the time trial, which finished on the steep Birkelundsbakken climb. The routes offered up by Innsbruck this year will also lend themselves to the climbers, something which Van Vleuten is more than happy with.
"My goal is to be as perfect as possible prepared for the start of the World Championship," she told the Dutch Federation website. "The course, it is clear, motivates me, of course. The routes for the World Championships are very challenging. I like the mountains and I am happy that the climbers have a good chance of success during this World Championships."
Van Vleuten took a look at road race on Sunday before heading out to see the time trial course on Monday. Though she liked what she saw but added that she wished the women's route included the brutally steep ascent of the Hell Climb, which will feature once in the men’s race.
"We started Sunday with the exploration of the road course. Three times we do a climb of eight kilometres during the road race," she wrote in a blog on her own website. The men do this seven times, plus a super steep final climb which we, unfortunately, do not do, but with three times this climb in a 155-kilometre course, it will certainly be a special and heavy World Championships.
"On Monday, I explored the time trial, starting at Swarovksi, a big sponsor… There are just as many altimeters in the course compared to last year. The difference is that it goes up and down more and there is no real difficult climb like last year. But it is a nice course, where you cannot get into your rhythm for a moment and I think that's an advantage. It is constantly on and off, twice it really goes up and there are also some curves. I think it's a nice route."
Van Vleuten made the trip with Dutch coach Thorwald Veneberg, who was in Austria to see the route during the Tour of the Alps last month, and Mitchelton-Scott mechanic Pat Ryan. The trip gave her the opportunity to test out her newly painted Scott Foil, which will be unveiled next week according to Van Vleuten on her own website.
Following the trip to Innsbruck, Van Vleuten has headed to Valencia to meet up with her Mitchelton-Scott teammates where they are due to hone their team time trial ahead of the Giro Rosa in July, and with the World Championships in mind.