Anna van der Breggen says “it’s a strange feeling sitting here for the last time,” after winning her seventh consecutive Flèche Wallonne title.
Dutchwoman Van der Breggen is fast approaching the end of her career, as she will retire from the peloton at the end of the season while still at the height of her powers.
The 31-year-old is still motivated with just a few months of racing left of her career, having won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and now Flèche Wallonne for the final times in her career.
Speaking after the finish of the Belgian Classic on Wednesday (April 21), Van der Breggen said: “It’s a strange thought that I’m sitting here for the last time in this race. Next year I won’t bother the girls anymore, it’s up to somebody else and that;s a good thing. I’m really happy to finish it off like this, and with seven straight wins is incredible.”
Van der Breggen’s career, which has spanned 11 years, has seen her win the biggest races on the calendar, including two World Championship road races, a World Championship time trial, the Olympic Games, and the Giro Rosa.
But her victory in the 2021 Flèche Wallonne caps off a remarkable record, continuing her winning run on the iconic Mur de Huy, which first started in 2015.
It wasn’t an easy task for Van der Breggen, as her team were forced to chase early on in the day to set up the sprint on the final ramp to the line.
She said: “It’s mostly about the Mur in the end but the race was hard from the beginning. The pace was really high on the climbs, I think we also made some tactical mistakes in the race so we needed to chase but the team did really great to fix that.
“Of course I’m really happy I could do it still and I could take the win for the team.”
She added: “We needed to chase and we didn’t have control for the whole race, so there was a bit more pressure for me because the girls worked so hard already. I just gave it all on the Mur. It was a good battle with Kasia [Niewiadoma], she was strong, but I’m really happy I can win this one.”
Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.
Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.
Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.