‘I don’t know any male rider as committed as her’: Behind-the-scenes of Annemiek Van Vleuten's training camp with men's squad

A new team video shows how the Dutch phenomenon ramped up her training over the winter

Annemiek van Vleuten’s talent has been well-documented, from her 105km World Championships solo win to countless victories across the season.

But few people get to see the behind-the-scenes – the training that goes into making a champion of the women’s peloton.

Van Vleuten’s Mitchelton-Scott squad have released a new video that details the Dutch rider’s daunting training regime this winter, which saw her ride with the men’s squad during their camp in Italy.

The 14-minute film, ‘One of the boys’, is the first episode of ‘What it Takes,’ a documentary series made by Mitchelton-Scott focused around Van Vleuten.

Van Vleuten first joined the men’s squad during their now-famous point-point- training camp in January 2019, after being challenged by women’s performance manager Gene Bates.

The goal was set to keep Van Vleuten motivated after a nasty knee injury she suffered at the 2018 World Championships, but despite the risks in mixing with the men Van Vleuten went into 2019 as the strongest rider, winning Strade Bianche right off the bat.

She returned to the camp this month, matching the men on their 1,800km, 10-day training regime.

Some of her Mitchelton-Scott team-mates from the men’s squad offered up their thoughts on the 37-year-old super-talent.

Luka Mezgec said: “ I don’t know any male rider committed like she is.

“Sometimes I was surprised, when I looked back she was still there and I was a little bit in trouble.”

Adam Yates said: "Annemiek is probably one of the most hard working and passionate people I’ve ever met.

“Sometimes she goes off the back when the pace is hard on the climbs, we’ll stop for drinks and she’ll just keep going and we’ll see her again maybe 20km later.”

This year, Van Vleuten has stacked a staggering amount of kilometres as her Strava revealed she has ridden more distance than every male rider other than Egan Bernal (Team Ineos).

Earlier this year, she posted a monstrous eight-hour “empty the tank ride” during the men’s training camp in Italy.

The effort took Van Vleuten 234km.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former 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, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex 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 the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.