Women's Sports: Van Vleuten cycles ahead to win the women's road world championship title

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Cycling is a team sport, whether you’re working with the other cyclists in your team or in your breakaway group, so to cycle alone for 105km of a 150km road race is almost unheard of, but that’s exactly what Annemiek van Vleuten did to pedal to victory and the road race world title in Yorkshire.

The Dutch rider attacked early on in the race and the rest of the cyclists were unable to catch her. Anna van der Breggen, also from the Netherlands, claimed silver and Australia’s Amanda Spratt took bronze. Brit and Yorkshire local, Lizzie Deignan, placed 31st after falling away from the chasing pack. 

Van Vleuten made her move on Lofthouse, the highest climb in the race. Speaking to GMSW ahead of the championship, Deignan had predicted that this would be the hardest part of the course: “It’s a steep climb which has an exposed section over the top which could potentially be windy, so I think that'll be a challenge because you have to have such good positioning into the bottom of it.”

Deignan and Italian cyclist Elisa Longo Borghini initially tried to join van Vleuten in her attack, however, they dropped back and by the time van Vleuten reached the summit she had an advantage of one minute on the chasing pack.

Her advantage didn’t drop below 45 seconds for the rest of the race and she eventually finished two minutes 16 seconds ahead of van der Breggen to win her first road world championship rainbow jersey.

Of her incredible win, van Vleuten said: "This was really crazy - I'm a bit crazy, I train a lot and that helped me to be ready for such a big effort.” She added: "I felt so many emotions on the line - it's such a big win for me. I've been world time trial champion but road champion you get to wear the jersey so much more." 

On Instagram, Deignan wrote: “The dream didn’t come true, but I will always remember today with a smile.” 

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