'I was not at my normal level': Anna van der Breggen pulls out of European Championships after poor showing in Spain

The double world champion does not know why she is not on her usual unbeatable form in her final season before retirement

Anna van der Breggen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Anna van der Breggen says that she was not at her 'normal level' at the Challenge by La Vuelta and has pulled out of the running for the European Championships.

Van der Breggen (SD Worx) finished in 58th place in the general classification at 23-07 to rival Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), who took the overall title. Van der Breggen's best performance was on the time trial on stage two where she finished at 1-46 behind winner Van Vleuten.

Annemiek Van Vleuten, Marianne Vos, Amy Pieters, Demi Vollering and Chantal Van der Broek-Blaak are the other Dutch riders due to ride. It is not yet clear who will replace Van der Breggen.

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In a team press release, Van der Breggen said: "I just didn't have the power in Spain to follow when it was a hard race. After the Olympics I started training again and in the GP de Plouay I was able to achieve a decent level. 

"Mentally, I'm still looking forward to the last races later this year. I did my best in Spain to make the best out of it, but physically I was not at my normal level at all. With my current level, I have nothing to do at the European Championships. 

"Another Dutch rider is then of greater value at the European Championships than me. I have no idea why I'm not at my level right now. We will be conducting several investigations in the coming days. Based on that, I determine my further program this year."

Van der Breggen is due to retire at the end of the season and would have been hoping to go out on a high.

The 31-year-old was down to ride the individual time trial on Thursday, September 9 as well as the road race on Saturday, September 11.

This also casts doubts on whether or not Van der Breggen will compete in the World Championships with the time trial on Monday, September 20 and the road race Saturday, September 25.

Van der Breggen isn't the only Dutch star who is now doubtful for the World Championships after Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) pulled out of the Benelux Tour, with doubts about whether he'll compete in Leuven and Paris-Roubaix a month later.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.