De wereldkampioenschappen staan voor de deur en daarmee komt ook de transfercarousel over het algemeen op gang. Dit jaar is dat niet anders en ook Annemiek heeft nieuws; ze zal namelijk ook volgend seizoen voor Orica-AIS rijden. “Het afgelopen jaar was geweldig bij deze zeer professionele ploeg”, aldus Annemiek. “Ik ben dan ook ontzettend blij dat ik ook in 2017 voor Orica-AIS mag rijden en bij hen mijn doelen na kan streven.”
Hoewel de WK nog moet beginnen heeft Annemiek ook zeker al haar ambitie voor de toekomst. “Door mijn wedstrijd in Rio heb ik wel een kant van mezelf ontdekt die ik nog kende. Daar wil ik me graag verder in gaan ontwikkelen. Volgend seizoen zal ik me dan ook richten op de wedstrijden die bergop gaan en de tijdritten. Ik kan me geen betere ploeg wensen om dat bij te doen.”
Nu wachten dus eerste de wereldkampioenschappen. Komende dinsdag 11 oktober is de individuele tijdrit en zaterdag 15 oktober de wegwedstrijd. Over haar aanloop daar naartoe schreef Annemiek een dagboek voor de UCI. Dat dagboek en het persbericht over haar contractverlenging bij Orica-AIS zijn hieronder, allebei in het Engels, te lezen.
UCI Diary Annemiek van Vleuten:
I arrived in Oman on Tuesday with the Dutch National Team and will fly to Doha on Saturday. For my first training ride it was over 40 degrees and I drank 5 bottles in 3 hours. I am not someone who suffers particularly from the heat but this is at another level and I am very happy to have time to acclimatise.
My big goal in Doha is the individual time trial on Tuesday. I started to think seriously about the Worlds time trial after winning the Dutch time trial National Championships in June. Then at the beginning of September, I won the prologue of the Lotto Belgium Tour by 7 seconds. That is a pretty big margin over a course that only took around 5m30. It gave me confidence. The Lotto Belgium Tour was my comeback race after my crash in Rio, and I was so happy to win the prologue, the Queen stage and the overall classification. I also got a lot of encouragement from the other girls in the peloton which was super nice.
I hadn’t done any specific training since Rio, just riding my bike and enjoying myself. But I realised I was still in Rio shape. The only thing perhaps that was lacking was the long power efforts on the time trial bike. But last week I worked on that during a training camp in Sicily with Marianne Vos, and I was getting better every day. I had also done some aero testing on the track before the Lotto Belgium Tour and have done some fine tuning to my position on the bike so it has been good to get used to that too. I have only made little adjustments, but even a marginal gain can make all the difference.
After my victory in Belgium, I raced in two one-day events in Italy held on September 24 and 25: the Giro dell’Emilia Internazionale Donne Elite and the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli Internazionale Donne Elite. In the first I got caught up behind a crash and couldn’t finish, and the next day I tried to attack in the uphill section but there wasn’t time to get away. It is great to have these two races on the calendar but I would love to see the organisers make them harder, with more climbs.
I have done nearly all my specific work now, so until Tuesday I will get used to the heat, rest a lot, drink a lot and sleep a lot. The time trial is quite long and very technical with lots of corners, which I like. It has been a long season and some riders are getting tired, but I am super fresh and eager to go for this one.
As for the road race, I raced on the course during the Ladies Tour of Qatar. I would have liked to see the women’s course go out of the city where there are likely to be crosswinds, and the formation of echelons. But it is going to be a flat race without wind. Nevertheless, the Dutch team has strong riders and two fast sprinters so we have a lot of cards to play!
And after Doha? I am really looking forward to spending three and a half months in Australia where I will get a chance to stay with some of my Orica-AIS team mates. I will do a mountain bike stage race, the Crocodile Trophy, at the end of October. But just for fun. I will take pictures and enjoy it. I will also do some road races while in Australia without forgetting to take a break, get some rest, and be a tourist.
Scuba diving is on my wish list!
Press release Orica-AIS on resign Annemiek
ORICA-AIS re-sign Dutch time trial champion Annemiek Van Vleuten
ORICA-AIS are pleased to announce the re-signing of 33-year-old Dutch time trial champion Annemiek Van Vleuten after her impressive first season with the team. The former Tour of Flanders winner joined the Australian outfit at the start of 2016, instantly settling in to the team environment bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience, having raced in Europe at the highest level for many years.
“We are very excited to have Annemiek back with us for 2017,” explained sport director Gene Bates. “From the start of this season Annemiek has fitted in perfectly with our team and culture. She achieved great victories for ORICA-AIS this year at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, Auensteiner Radsportage and the national championship time trial, so we are very excited about what she can do in 2017. Annemiek brings amazing energy, consistency, leadership and professionalism to our team and we couldn’t be more excited about starting the 2017 season with her.”
Van Vleuten has proven to be a key member of the Australian team, contributing to their success whilst pushing her own limits to continually improve. “My first year with ORICA-AIS was a great experience,” explained Van Vleuten. “The professionalism and atmosphere in the team is something that suits my drive and motivation and the way I want to achieve my goals. One of my best personal experiences this year was preparing for the Dutch national time trial with help of Pat Ryan our team mechanic. I won the 30kilometre event with an average speed of 48.2kilometres/hour. I never thought I would be able to ride so fast.”
Aside from winning races, the Dutch rider has displayed on many occasions that she is a valuable team player and selflessly works for her teammates. “When Gracie Elvin won Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik, it was one of my best team experiences,” Van Vleuten continued. “We were in control all day and I enjoyed every minute of the race together with the team. I was so proud when Gracie finished it off after all our super teamwork and I hope we will rock like that next year from the start of the classic season.”
Van Vleuten, who rocked the world with a high-speed crash whilst leading the road race at the Rio Olympic Games, revealed how much she has learnt about herself in the last 12 months resulting in a change of goals for 2017. “The experience I had at the Rio Olympic Games made me think again about my goals for 2017. I never thought I would be able to follow the best climbers uphill and even drop them,” Van Vleuten revealed. “At 33-years of age I realised I have talents that I was not aware of. Therefore, next season with ORICA-AIS I will focus more on uphill races and time trialing. I am very happy we will continue to use Scott bikes next year, their time trial bike is really fast and I have great support from the team with my preparations for time trials events.”