Home Sports Olympics-Cycling-Van Vleuten wins gold and this time it’s official

Olympics-Cycling-Van Vleuten wins gold and this time it’s official

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By Martyn Herman

OYAMA TOWN, Japan (Reuters) – This time, there was no mistake. Annemiek van Vleuten is an Olympic champion — it is OFFICIAL! The Dutchwoman, who mistakenly thought she had won the road race on Sunday, left nothing to chance as she romped to gold in the time trial, winning by a massive 56 seconds over 22km.

It was the sweetest of moments for the 38-year-old in her last Olympics — having suffered her fair share of heartache — and a boost for the Dutch team who were left red-faced on Sunday when they got their calculations all wrong.

The former time trial world champion was in a class of her own, with Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser, the only other of the 25 starters to get within a minute of her 30:13.49. Van Vleuten’s teammate Anna van der Breggen, the reigning world champion, finished with a bronze medal, 1:01.63 back.

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A laughing Van Vleuten joked, “I’m number one right” at the finish on the picturesque racing circuit — virtually what she said on Sunday when she crossed the line celebrating, not realising that Austrian breakaway rider Anna Kiesenhofer had beaten her by more than a minute.

There was a crushing disappointment though, for American Chloe Dygert, who despite being tipped as a favourite, finished down in seventh place, more than two minutes behind. Dygert, who in 2019 became the youngest road time trial world champion, suffered a horrific crash in the 2020 world championship in Imola with a deep laceration on her thigh that required surgery!

She was well off her usual pace and looked in physical distress at the finish. Van Vleuten is the second Dutchwoman to win the women’s individual time trial at the Games, after Leontien Martha Zijlaard-van Moorsel in 2000 and 2004. The last three editions were won by American Kristin Armstrong, who is now Dygert’s coach. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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