Giro d’Italia Donne: Anna van der Breggen leaves us wanting more in her final season
Anna van der Breggen leaves us asking for more.
The world champion doesn’t end her career with a whimper but is preparing to storm out when she retires at the end of the season. Whatever happens in the remaining months of the season, she will end a career decorated in style.
â€œI want to end my career with a great full season. Especially after this year, which has been largely lost due to the corona pandemic, I am extremely motivated to continue for another year, â€said van der Breggen when she announced her retirement last year.
â€œI want to get the best of myself on my bike for one more season. “
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It’s hard to imagine a field without the attacking flair and flowing style of van der Breggen, but it’s a reality we’ll have to face. Of course, she will still be there next year as athletic director, but it just won’t be the same.
In many ways, knowing that every race she runs will be the last has freed her to go all-in when the opportunity calls for it.
There won’t be another chance next year.
What a feeling that must be for a rider.
Van der Breggen’s continued dominance this year was made all the more impressive by the fact that she could have won a lot more but gave up some of her winning chances to set up her own teammate.
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Both at LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge and at La Course – two of the biggest events on the calendar – she put aside any ambition she might have to lead Demi Vollering to victory. She did the same in last year’s Tour of Flanders and in Strade Bianche 2021, using her own resources to kill dangerous escapes to enable Chantal van der Broek-Blaak.
And yet, it is well at the top of the world ranking.
Perhaps it is her ability to let go of the reins, even when it comes to a race she could win on her own, that sets van der Breggen apart from most champions.
As time goes by in her career, we have to savor her performances and appreciate one of the most talented and stylish riders in the peloton.
Dominating the Giro d’Italia Donne
Van der Breggen’s dominating performance at the Giro d’Italia Donne this week is further proof that she puts in her career time when she wants to, not when she is forced to.
Aside from the slight setback when SD Worx lost to Team Trek-Segafredo in the opening time trial, van der Breggen and his team were hardly wrong in the Italian grand tour.
Van der Breggen looked untouchable when she first came to the top of the race as she destroyed the competition to finish more than a minute ahead of her closest rival, teammate Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. In Monday’s Stage 4 time trial, she had such a great race that she sent 12 runners out of the race because they missed the 30 percent reduction in time.
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Unless something drastic happens in the next few days, van der Breggen takes victory in the Giro d’Italia Donne. The main question is how much can she earn?
With one more finish at the top of Monte Matajur on stage 9 – the queen stage of the race – the rest of the peloton will have to do everything to prevent the flying Dutchwoman from adding an extra minute or two to her time.
Maybe if Annemiek van Vleuten had been in Italy van der Breggen might have had a tougher fight for the pink, but that does a disservice to the riders running against her. There are some serious climbing skills in the Giro d’Italia Donne peloton, but none have managed to snatch the lead.
With the Olympics on the horizon, her performances in the mountains and in the Giro time trials are a wake-up call for anyone hoping to win gold, including her own Dutch teammates.
Where she runs and what she does at the Olympics remains to be defined, but she will compete at the World Championships in Flanders in September. In the form she possessed in the 2021 season, who would bet against her by adding another set of Rainbow Stripes to her closet, but maybe we’ll see her set up a teammate to be successful. . Someone named Demi Vollering, maybe.
Whatever his schedule over the next few months, we probably have less than 20 more chances to see van der Breggen race before he retires.
Take advantage of it because we will miss her when she is gone.