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World Championships favourites show form in return to racing post Olympics

World Champion Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) racing GP de Plouay
World Champion Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) racing GP de Plouay (Image credit: Getty Images)

One month after the road race and time trial at the Tokyo Olympic Games, many of the riders who took breaks and recovery days off are returning to competition as the Women’s WorldTour calendar continues ahead of the upcoming UCI Road World Championships

For many, these first few races back are a chance to test their legs and take a back seat, and we have seen some riders who would usually find themselves in domestique roles able to claim victories for themselves.

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) was amongst the first to return to competition just one week after the Olympics, winning the Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa Women. The Olympic time trial champion was also present at the Ladies Tour of Norway where she took the overall victory, but she and her Movistar team were absent from GP de Plouay on Monday. 

Elsewhere, last week’s Simac Ladies Tour saw the return of Demi Vollering to competition with her SD Worx teammate Chantal van den Broek Blaak, who did not race in Tokyo, taking the overall win. 

Canyon-SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma also returned to racing after a post-Tokyo break at the Simac Ladies Tour, where she managed a second-place finish behind Marianne Vos on stage 4. 

Vos, who was also returning to competition for the first time since Tokyo, took three stage victories at the same race leaving her form in no doubt for the World Championships.  

Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) was present at the Simac Ladies Tour, however she was in the director’s seat, where she will be spending the next season after her retirement. At the GP de Plouay on Monday, Van der Breggen returned to WorldTour racing where she was very much playing a domestique role as she works towards her form for her upcoming defense at the UCI Road World Championships.  

Italian national champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), who took the bronze medal in the Olympic road race in Tokyo, returned to racing with a victory at GP de Plouay. The 29-year-old claimed a stunning solo victory, which mirrored her dominant and all-in ride at Trofeo Alfredo Binda earlier in the season, leaving no doubt as to her form for the remainder of the year. 

The next round of the Women’s WorldTour is just a few days away with the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta which starts on September 2 in Spain. The four-day stage race provides another chance for riders to gauge the form of themselves and their competition ahead of the World Championships at the end of September.