Annemiek van Vleuten dominant with Boels Ladies Tour prologue win

World time trial champion wins the 3.8km time trial at Tom Dumoulin Bike park taking GC lead ahead of five road stages

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Annemiek van Vleuten dominated the at the Boels Ladies Tour on Tuesday, conclusively winning the 3.8km time trial. With no more racing against the clock, she may struggle to win a third consecutive edition of the race, but the Mitchelton-Scott rider once again proved her excellence in any form of time trial.

Last off the ramp, the current world time trial champion blasted round the course at the Tom Dumoulin Bike Park, near Maastricht, in a time of 5.04, six seconds ahead of her nearest rival.

Often excellent in prologue races, Canyon-SRAM’s German TT champion Lisa Klein was second, with Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) in third, a further one second behind.

Commenting on social media, Van Vleuten made it clear she is not aiming for the general classification. Her six second lead will be tough to defend with the sprinters are likely to be competing for stage honours over the ensuing five stages.

With ten bonus seconds available to the winner each day she could find herself some way down the classification come Sunday’s closing stage in Arnhem. However, with wind and rain forecast the race may prove less predictable, and with her time trialing ability may be able to attack and solo to both stage and overall success.

How it happened

The 3.8km circuit at the bike park on the outskirts of Sittard is a regular host to a stage of the race, with road stages concluding there in recent years. The route covered a very short, but equally steep hill built at one end of the circuit, and the winding lap contains a variety of road surfaces, with a cobbled stretch set to rattle the riders’ bones.

The early starters set a flurry of new fastest times, with Kirsten Wild’s (WNT-Rotor) time of 5.23 the first to set a standard for any length of time. It was then the turn local rider Jip van den Bos, whose time of 5.20 was eventually overtaken by her Boels-Dolmans team mate Christine Majerus with 5.15.

Klein set her standard of 5.10 around half way through the day, and for a while it seemed as though the German may hold on, but van Vleuten blasted her time as the final rider across the line.

Former time trial rainbow jersey Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) was notably missing from the top of the leaderboard, having crashed after a mechanical, and will start stage one in 100th position, some 1.48 down.

Of the British riders, national champion Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) was the best, finishing 14th, 15 seconds behind the winner, with her sister and team mate Hannah three places and one second down.

Tomorrow’s first road stage takes on 123km between Stramproy and Weert.

Result
Boels Ladies Tour, prologue: Tom Dumoulin Bike Park, Sittard (3.8km)
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 5-04
2. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM 06 sec
3. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb at 07 sec
4. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 09 sec
5. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor
6. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans all at same time
7. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 10 sec
8.Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 11 sec
9. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
10. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla all at same time

General classification after prologue
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 5-04
2. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM 06 sec
3. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb at 07 sec
4. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 09 sec
5. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor
6. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans all at same time
7. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 10 sec
8.Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 11 sec
9. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
10. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla all at same time