Tour of Flanders biking 2021 – Annemiek Van Vleuten proving age will not be a barrier at 38

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If there’s one factor all of us love in regards to the classics, it’s that they’re unpredictable. It takes a particular sort of rider to win the identical one a number of instances.

Not solely did Annemiek van Vleuten’s victory on the Tour of Flanders make her considered one of three ladies to win in it twice in 18 editions, however it marked her second win for her new group Movistar – each of them from Belgian classics this week.

And as if that wasn’t sufficient, it got here proper on time to mark 10 years since her first victory on Flemish cobbles. What appears extra exceptional is within the males’s World Tour you don’t must look very far to see a race winner beneath the age of 25. Van Vleuten is 38, which – placing apart regular age stereotypes for a second – is getting on a bit in biking. For instance, the oldest winner of the Tour de France was 36, and that was 100 years in the past – Chris Froome at 35 is struggling to maintain up with the youth of at present.

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Even the legendary classics specialist Philippe Gilbert, who’s 38 (however appears like he’s been round since biking started), hasn’t gained Flanders twice.

Following Marianne Vos’ Gent-Wevelgem victory final week, I wrote how she seems to be focusing on the races she’s not but achieved after almost 20 years racing bikes. This week, Van Vleuten is additional proving the Dutch riders are the present that retains on giving. The chase-down by world champion Anna van der Breggen, 32, within the closing levels of Sunday’s Flanders, was equally as spectacular.

Highlights: Van Vleuten lights up race on Paterberg to win Tour of Flanders

Which brings us onto Trek-Segafredo, who have been dominant throughout a big a part of final season’s condensed calendar. Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini and Lizzie Deignan have been, for a very long time, the star duo within the ladies’s world tour final yr, and Deignan collected extra silverware than ever earlier than.

Albeit, at current it’s only classics season that are suited to completely different sorts of riders. Nonetheless, final week Longo Borghini took off on an almighty solo assault into the headwind, however this week she clung on to the again of Flanders’ lead group, and wasn’t too joyful about it on the finish of the race.

“It was actually shut on the Paterberg. I had an order to not chase as a result of I had Lizzie [Deignan] and Ellen [Van Dijk] within the group behind and I used to be ready for the group to return again and ultimately they didn’t,” she mentioned.

“I needed to strive for the dash. I do know I’m not very quick however I nonetheless needed to do. Fourth was fairly okay, it’s a pity that Lizzie and Ellen couldn’t come again as a result of we may’ve had a pleasant likelihood to win. Usually Lizzie is quick and we have now an opportunity to win.

“Personally, I’m joyful about my efficiency however I want to give one thing extra to the group. Staff-wise we may’ve perhaps do a greater race, if as a substitute of me it might’ve been Lizzie there however ultimately. Unfortunate for us, I used to be the one there and I’m probably not quick..”

Maybe it was a nasty day for Trek-Segafredo. At 29, Longo Borghini has a number of racing years left in her, and is gifted sufficient to win much more jerseys and silverware. In the meantime, Deignan, 32, final yr mentioned she has postponed her retirement to goal for the 2021 Flanders world championships and Olympic Video games in Tokyo which implies she’s additionally bought much more to present.

Though in males’s racing the winners are getting youthful, in ladies’s racing age will not be a barrier – actually it’s not even an element.

As the game continues to develop, maybe it’s the change in groups for Van Vleuten at Movistar, and Vos at Jumbo-Visma, which mark a brand new chapter in lengthy careers, and function alternatives to work smarter, change methods and hunt for brand new information.

In ladies’s racing, it appears riders mature like a positive wine, or a traditional Flemish ale.

Meet Johan Museeuw: The Lion Of Flanders

Museeuw was a rider who dominated the at some point classics. Ex-pro Bernie Eisel joins Johan on a few of his favorite cobbled climbs from the Tour of Flanders to seek out out what set him apart at these prestigious races. You possibly can stream this and extra of the most effective biking tales on the earth solely on GCN+.

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