Annemiek van Vleuten to miss Giro Rosa and La Course to focus on the Olympics

The Dutch star has decided she doesn't want to risk injury in the run up to her biggest goal of the year

Annemiek van Vleuten at the Vuelta a Burgos 2021
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten has confirmed that she will not be riding the Giro Rosa or La Course as she focuses on the Tokyo Olympics and the National Championships.

Van Vleuten has taken five wins this season and has recently come off the back of a second-place overall at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, where she finished just behind arch-rival Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx).

The former world champion will be riding her National Championships before heading to Italy for an altitude camp, and then Japan for the Olympic Games with her Netherlands team.

Van Vleuten is a two time winner of La Course and a two time winner of the Giro Rosa, which is rebranding this year as the Giro d'Italia Donne this season. 

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Writing in her blog, Van Vleuten said that she would head back to the Netherlands to have an Olympics meeting and to test clothing in a climate room, before heading on her altitude camp.

"At the moment it is still uncertain whether we can train outside in Tokyo. There are still a lot of uncertainties, but I have no influence on that, so I try not to concern myself with that," Van Vleuten said. 

"What I do have an influence on is my program and the Giro Rosa is missing this time. It hurts me a lot not to ride it because it's my favourite race. But every time I think 'I'm just going to ride it', I look again at the scar on my wrist, where I broke my wrist in the Giro five days before the World Time Trial Championship. 

"You simply have less control over the risks. In addition, I am convinced that you can better prepare a time trial with a training camp and less well in a road race. Also, you have no control over how hard the racing is, you have to travel a lot, you have the pressure of defending a classification and so it is mentally tough as well."

She then revealed that she was supposed to ride at La Course by le Tour de France but she decided to drop it from her race programme: "I was supposed to ride La Course at first, but when they decided to remove the Muur de Bretagne and let us race the day before, I decided to take it out of my schedule."

After the Olympics though, Van Vleuten will turn her attention to the World Championships yet again.

"One side effect of Covid is that some competitions have been postponed until after the World Cup, such as the Women's Tour and Ronde van Drenthe. I have now been able to include it in my program again, so we now have a nice program for the second year, even after the World Cup."

It is still not certain that the Olympics will even go ahead as Japan has gone into yet another lockdown with public pressure to cancel the event mounting, but some nations, such as Australia, have already sent some of their athletes.

"It still doesn't seem quite certain, it looks like the Games will continue. I've learned over the years not to worry about the things I can't control. Whether or not the Games go ahead is a good example of this," continued Van Vleuten.

"I am very happy and grateful that I was able to experience the previous two editions. In London, I enjoyed it very much and in Rio, it was a somewhat accelerated retreat. It's going to be very different now and I'm prepared for that. That's also something I can control. The shine of the event is going to wear off a bit, but it's still the Olympics."