For most, winning the inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift would be enough of a prize, but not for Annemiek van Vleuten. The Movistar rider can now add most-kudosed women's bike ride on Strava to her long list of achievements.
Van Vleuten powered to her second consecutive stage victory at the Tour on Sunday, triumphing on the Super Planche des Belles Filles, and taking overall victory as a result. In the end, she won by almost four minutes over Demi Vollering (SD Worx).
The 39-year-old uploads most, if not all, of her bike rides onto the popular exercise tracking-cum-social network Strava, and so fans have been able to follow her seminal victory as it happened.
At time of writing, the activity, titled "Super win at La Planche! :)" has received 23,106 likes, or "kudos" on Strava, the most for any women's bike ride ever.
In fact, it is currently the third most "kudosed" activity for a woman ever, behind Molly Seidel's third place in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics last year, and the same athlete's fourth place at the New York Marathon in 2021.
Van Vleuten took 19 "Queen of the Mountain" records on the way to her victory on the Super Planche, including the original La Planche des Belles Filles climb.
She averaged 33.8km/h across the 122.83km raced, which included 2,491 metres of elevation.
On the previous day, stage seven, where she all but wrapped up her Tour win, Van Vleuten achieved 43 QoM records on Strava. This included the climb of the Petit Ballon, where she put seven minutes into the previous holder.
That day, the Dutchwoman attacked with Vollering 70km from the finish, and then dropped her rival less than 10km later. As a result of this monster solo effort, the only rider seen to be in her group that day was solely Vollering, not the 123 other riders in the race.
Her win was all the more impressive considering she considered quitting the race after stage two as she was so ill.
“In day two and three it was very hard and I can't believe, with how sick I was, now I am here in the yellow jersey,” she said in her post-stage press conference. “Until yesterday I still felt sick, at some point you can start to eat and drink again.
“I dug so deep in stage 2 and 3, being sick and racing, which is awful for your body. I could feel in stage 5 and 6 that my legs still had muscle pain. I was not sure, even on stage 7, that I was recovered from being ill.”
However, the Movistar rider bounced back to take a comprehensive victory, and get the win in yellow on the Planche that she dreamed of.
"When I did the recon of the stage, it was something I told my team that if it were possible I would like to go for the win, with the victory in yellow on the Planche the best way to finish this off,” Van Vleuten said. “It was special – all the spectators cheering my name.”
Strava kudos might not mean as much as titles, but Van Vleuten is continuing to smash records.
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