Right now I am in Italy and enjoying a holiday (with my bike!) and I can honestly say I am really happy to be here. I am so much better since arriving in Italy, both physically and mentally. I am back riding, taking things day by day and enjoying life. If everything continues to go well, I would like to race the four-day Lotto Belgium Tour. It starts on September 6th, almost exactly one month after the Rio road race! I don’t have any ambitions for this race. I’m just looking forward to getting back in the peloton and racing without any pressure.
I have had some disappointments in my career. We all do. That is part of being a professional cyclist. But crashing out at the Olympic Games, just a few kilometres from the finish line when in the lead and going for gold… that is the toughest challenge I have ever faced.
I know the crash made a very big impact on lots of people who were watching the race, and the support, messages and good wishes I have received have been overwhelming. I suffered severe concussion and micro-fractures in three vertebrae, but for me, dealing with the disappointment has been far more difficult than recovering physically. The worst was when the doctor told me to take complete rest, with no television, Internet or telephone. I had nothing to do except think about what happened. It was so hard. But in the end, it was just a few bad days and then I started to look forward to what’s coming up next.
I was in the shape of my life in Rio and I totally surprised myself with how strong I felt. During that race I realised I was capable of more than I thought. I always believed I wasn’t a climber. I was usually the one hanging on, disappearing and coming back. But in Rio I climbed like I never had before. I wasn’t even suffering and felt so strong. So now I will target this sort of race more. It’s amazing to think that at 33 years old you can keep improving. I hope this inspires other people to believe in their dreams and go after them.
I wasn’t at all apprehensive getting back on my bike after Rio. I’m not following any training schedule but just riding when I feel like it and not doing any intensities. I’m a little bit more tired than before, but otherwise I feel really good. I think my level must still be quite high even though I’m not doing any specific work. It is also a holiday for me and my mother came for the first week. It was super spending this time with her.
After the Lotto Belgium Tour we will evaluate how I am and decide what’s next. The European Championships mid-September are too early for me but I hope to race the Giro dell’Emilia Internazionale and the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli Internazionale in Italy at the end of September. However, as Orica-AIS isn’t competing, I’m looking for a mixed team to ride with.
Then the big goal is to be in top shape again at the UCI Road World Championships in October. At the moment I think this is realistic!
[…] “I am so much better since arriving in Italy, both physically and mentally. I am back riding, taking things day by day and enjoying life,” she journalled. […]
So happy to hear you are recovering and not afraid out on the bike. I look forward to seeing you this fall on the road! Even though you did not bring home a medal, you did bring home something important: belief in your abilities which are greater than even you realized. Higher, faster, stronger!
I am so pleased that you are feeling better and that you’ve had a great holiday. We’ve all been worrying about you!
I was very interested in your thoughts on Rio, particularly as I watched the road race again from the start last weekend. Do you know what I thought as I watched? You looked in total control. At every single moment you were in the right place and doing the right thing. Tactically I thought you were superb. And you looked incredibly confident too – as if you had suddenly realised that you had the power and pace in your legs to deal with whatever the other riders attempted.
And that was not some freaky course that just happened to suit you more than the others. It had a combination of every test a professional cyclist could face – flat runs and undulating sections, crosswinds and cobbles, nasty short climbs and the long steep climb at the end at the Vista Chinesa. And additionally for you, some spectator nearly bashing you in the face with a smartphone.
If a course could be designed from which the most complete cyclist in the world would emerge, that was it. And that is exactly what you were on August 7th. The most complete cyclist … no, more than that. The best cyclist in the world. I thought you rode an outstanding race. Your crash does not change that.
And age is just a number – it’s performance that matters. You can keep on getting better. You performed brilliantly in the Olympics – and if you can perform brilliantly on that course in Rio, then you can do it anywhere. I am really looking forward to seeing you race again!
Well done Annamiek! Such a wonderful and powerful message. Disappointments can consume us or they can open our hearts and mind to new opportunities. Sometimes we need to spend time with family to remind us of the truly precious gifts in life. May the Good Lord keep you safe always and may your heart be filled with happiness and the love of family and friends.
Thanks for the update. Following you has inspired me to push myself harder, work out harder. Glad you are continuing to recover.
I write in french, it’s more easy for me. If you préfer engish say me.
Merci pour ce compte-rendu, je comprends bien tout ce que vous avez vécu et ressenti.
A 33 ans, vous êtes au top et vous pouvez encore faire de grandes choses. Votre potentiel va encore s’améliorer, vous n’êtes pas usée et à la différence de d’autres (marianne Vos par exemple), vous être jeune dans le cyclisme.
Je vais vous suivre dorénavant avec beaucoup d’admiration. Je suis certain que vous n’allez pas me décevoir, j’ai confiance en vous. Dès que possible, j’irai vous voir sur une course.
Encore bravo, pour moi vous êtes la médaille d’or à Rio.
Ce sera toujours un regret, mais la vie sportive est faite de joies et de déceptions. J’ai connu à mon petit niveau de sportif.
Good luck for the future Annemiek :)…I’m with you
Goed nieuws, veel respect!
Heel mooi geschreven recht vanuit je hart….je was ijzersterk tijdens de beklimming.Ik ken je niet en jij mij niet maar je hebt een onuitwisbare indruk op me gemaakt tijdens de beklimming en t interview. Je hebt geen goud, maar voor mij heb je goud.Geniet van t mooie Italie. !! Veel succes dat komt zeker goed .
Vr gr Raymond
Wat een topper ben je!
In oktober tijdens het WK sta je er gewoon.
Wat een goed en inspirerend verhaal!!! En wat een mentale veerkracht!!!! 😊👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼
Je doet dat goed! Ik ben nog nooit naar een wielertour gaan kijken maar ik wil heel graag naar Nieuwpoort komen om je aan te moedigen. Dikke kus!