Annemiek van Vleuten (Nederland Bloeit) cemented her position at the top of the World Cup table with a stylish win at Saturday’s final round in Plouay, France.
Van Vleuten out-kicked American Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Highroad) in a two-up sprint at the GP de Plouay-Bretagne after the latter made a late-race break for it. Van Vleuten’s teammate Marianne Vos crossed third at 46 seconds back.
Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervélo), the winner here in 2009 and 2010, attacked on the fourth of six laps of the 19.1km circuit. With her went World Cup leader van Vleuten; Stevens; Chantal Blaak (AA Drink); and Erinne Willock (Tibco). The quartet quickly gained a gap of nearly two minutes.
Behind, the peloton shrank until the main chase group contained just 11 riders, with a larger group three minutes in arrears.
On the fifth lap, Pooley attacked again and got away solo, building a lead of around a minute. Behind, Vos accelerated fiercely from the chase group.
In less than 10km she had reached Pooley’s erstwhile companions and shot right past them. Or tried to, anyway — they latched onto Vos’s wheel and and the group began nibbling away at Pooley’s advantage.
The Briton was caught with 3km to go, and Stevens attacked, but got nowhere alone — van Vleuten went with her and the pair entered the final kilometer together.
Van Vleuten opened a gap on the American in the finishing straight, and the Dutchwoman celebrated another World Cup win as well as her first World Cup title. She closed out the series with 362 points. Vos was second with 315 and Emma Johansson (Hitec Products) third with 223 after finishing in the peloton.
Van Vleuten said the team had not planned for her to win the final round.
“No, it was not the plan that I would win today — that’s a secret, what our plan was — but no, not today,” she said.
She also praised Vos for her help.
“I was thinking ‘Ah, I’m alone,’ so when she came, it was fun to be together. She did a great job today,“ said van Vleuten. “She was strong chasing Pooley. And then I was expecting an attack in the final kilometers, and Stevens attacked, and I was on her wheel and I felt good. I was just going to enjoy the day, but I got 75 points too.”
Van Vleuten admitted that she had not yet thought about being World Cup champion.
“I thought about it a bit after Sweden, that it was possible, but I have been focused this year on wins in the World Cup, so it worked out well for me and Marianne with so many wins between us this year,” she said.
The cherry on the top for Nederland Bloeit was that they also won the World Cup classification for teams.
- 1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned), 3:12:28
- 2. Evelyn Stevens (USA), HTC-Highroad, at 0:03
- 3. Marianne Vos (Ned), at 0:46
- 4. Chantal Blaak (Ned), Leontien.nl, at 0:46
- 5. Erinne Willock (Can), Tibco-To The Top, at 0:49