Annemiek van Vleuten: 'I don’t feel more pressure in the rainbow jersey, just more motivated'

Van Vleuten is ready to go after big winter training block

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Annemiek van Vleuten says that the rainbow stripes give her "extra motivation" going into her first Classics campaign as world champion.

The Classics season starts this weekend with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and Van Vleuten will be looking for her first win as world champion in her first race of the year.

Dutch superstar Van Vleuten will be hoping to start her season with a bang after her immense ride at the Road World Championships in Yorkshire.

Last year, Van Vleuten finished fourth in Omloop behind former world champion, Chantal van den Brouck-Blaak (Boels-Dolmans), Marta Bastianelli (Alé-BTC-Ljubljana) and Jip van den Bos (Boels-Dolmans).

Looking ahead to Opening Weekend, Van Vleuten said:“I know the course really well for Omloop. It will be my 11th time at the race and there are some similar climbs and cobbles to Ronde van Vlaanderen."

In the past, we've seen some world champions struggle to get the wins under the dreaded 'curse of the rainbow jersey', but Van Vleuten isn't letting superstition get the better of her.

"I had an amazing winter with hard training but I enjoyed it a lot," she said. "Especially training in the rainbow jersey, it gives that extra motivation.

"I don’t feel more pressure to be racing in the rainbow jersey just more motivated. It is nice that my family are able to come to watch, it is not my home country but almost like my home country being in Belgium."

>>> Here are the favourites for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2020, according to the bookies

The Mitchelton-Scott rider has just come off the back of a huge winter training block where she mainly trained alone or with the men's team.

Sports director Martin Vestby is confident she will be in good for in her first race.

He said: "There’s always a lot of questions around everyone, we know Annemiek has been training really well and had a good winter and I expect her to come in and be in good form.

"She is really motivated for the race and it is nice when Annemiek comes into races this motivated, it brings everybody up and we know we have a strong leader to support."

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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.