World Championships: Van Vleuten leads Dutch sweep of women's time trial

Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) defended her title in the women's individual elite time trial at the UCI Road World Championships with a commanding victory over compatriots Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) and Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) to lead a Dutch one-two-three.

Van Vleuten was fastest at the intermediate checkpoint and despite a brave performance from Van der Breggen, the more experienced Van Vleuten had enough in the bag to cover the 27.7km course in a time of 34:25, with Van der Breggen 28 seconds down and the only rider to finish within a minute of the winning time.

"There are not so many who have won the World Championships twice. For sure I had some pressure but I also had it last year, so it's no different. If you're here starting, you want to win. And I know how beautiful the rainbow jersey is," said the winner.

"I know I took some time in the first part but I also felt I went out pretty fast. At nationals, I went out too slow so I felt I had to start fast and then die at the end. It's not nice to do, but I saw yesterday in the juniors and U23s that people had trouble in the second part. I also was in trouble but then you have a good TT I think."

In near perfect autumnal conditions the Dutch were simply untouchable. If the Johan Cruyff squads of the 1970s were built on the philosophy of the 'total football', then this was 'total cycling' with roulers and climbers in the kit from the Netherlands all leading the race at one point.

First, Lucinda Brand set the quickest time of 36:07, and although her time was quickly bettered by a strong ride from Leah Kirchmann (Canada) and then Leah Thomas (United States of America), it was only a matter of time before the full force of Dutch dominance was felt.

Ellen van Dijk edged out Kirchmann before Van der Breggen her charge. The 2016 Olympic champion has yet to win gold at a world championship but she was in a clearly determined mood as she powered down the start ramp and along the flatter sections of the course. Within a blink of an eye she had caught the rider ahead of her and put 15 seconds into Van Dijk, and as the road began to rise so too did Van der Breggen's advantage. She stood on the pedals only briefly as the climb began to bite, and as she crested the top it was clear that only Van Vleuten would stand in the way of a rainbow jersey.

At the Dutch championships, where she won by only three seconds over Van Dijk, Van Vleuten said she started too slowly but today she looked to match her main rival pedal stroke for pedal stroke and although Van der Breggen put almost a minute into Van Dijk, the defending champion was already making inroads into the lead.

At the 11km mark Van Vleuten was nine seconds up and by 14km the margin had widened out to 15 seconds. One could feel the sense of déjà vu flowing over the Austrian landscape as the Mitchelton-Scott rider put her skills to the test.

By the time Van Vleuten had reached the top of the main climb after 18.1km, her leading advantage was 19 seconds. The fact she had caught and disposed of former winner Amber Neben just before the summit was merely a distraction, and the Dutch rider burned away from the American as she traversed the descents and sped through the rolling countryside.

There was time for a late scare, with time checks suggesting that Van Vleuten was beginning to struggle but by the time she approached the line the win was sealed. Now for Saturday's road race, and quite possibly the second Dutch procession at this year's Worlds.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands)0:34:25
2Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands)0:00:29
3Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands)0:01:25
4Leah Kirchmann (Canada)0:01:27
5Leah Thomas (United States Of America)0:01:32
6Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)0:01:43
7Amber Leone Neben (United States Of America)0:01:48
8Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada)0:02:16
9Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)0:02:17
10Tayler Wiles (United States Of America)0:02:31
11Georgia Williams (New Zealand)0:02:33
12Pernille Mathiesen (Denmark)0:02:35
13Juliette Labous (France)0:02:40
14Lisa Brennauer (Germany)0:02:49
15Trixi Worrack (Germany)0:03:02
16Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)0:03:09
17Marlen Reusser (Switzerland)0:03:11
18Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark)0:03:17
19Audrey Cordon Ragot (France)0:03:17
20Alena Amialiusik (Belarus)0:03:20
21Elena Pirrone (Italy)0:03:32
22Alice Barnes (Great Britain)0:03:42
23Hayley Simmonds (Great Britain)0:03:47
24Vita Heine (Norway)0:03:48
25Martina Ritter (Austria)0:03:51
26Lotta Pauliina Lepisto (Finland)0:03:56
27Omer Shapira (Israel)0:03:59
28Ann-Sophie Duyck (Belgium)0:04:00
29Eri Yonamine (Japan)0:04:00
30Margarita Victo Garcia Canellas (Spain)0:04:09
31Olga Shekel (Ukraine)0:04:09
32Anastasiia Iakovenko (Russian Federation)0:04:10
33Kelly Murphy (Ireland)0:04:19
34Fernanda Yapura (Argentina)0:04:21
35Antri Christoforou (Cyprus)0:04:31
36Valeriya Kononenko (Ukraine)0:04:34
37Barbara Mayer (Austria)0:04:41
38Tereza Korvasova (Czech Republic)0:05:01
39Mia Radotic (Croatia)0:05:04
40Rotem Gafinovitz (Israel)0:05:09
41Eileen Burns (Ireland)0:05:11
42Maria Novolodskaya (Russian Federation)0:05:26
43Natalya Saifutdinova (Kazakhstan)0:05:47
44Varvara Fasoi (Greece)0:06:09
45Faina Potapova (Kazakhstan)0:06:30
46Eyeru Tesfoam Gebru (Ethiopia)0:06:34
47Agua Marina Espinola (Paraguay)0:06:46
48Tatiana Jasekova (Slovakia)0:06:49
49Teniel Campbell (Trinidad & Tabago)0:07:19
50Mosana Debesay (Eritrea)0:07:32
51Yixian Pu (People's Republic of China)0:07:37
DNFMikayla Harvey (New Zealand)Row 51 - Cell 2


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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.