Annemiek van Vleuten hails 'breakthrough win' for Liane Lippert at Tour de France Femmes

25-year-old takes biggest victory of her career to date at French Grand Tour

Liane Lippert and Annemiek van Vleuten
(Image credit: Getty)

Annemiek van Vleuten had one instruction for her Movistar team-mate Liane Lippert, after she punched her way to victory on stage two of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift on Monday. 

With a beaming smile, the world champion hugged her lieutenant, dealt her a high-five and, shouting so she could hear over the swarming press, told her to “enjoy". 

Lippert looked around in disbelief. Winning, as the record books show, has come easily to Van Vleuten, whose palmarès counts over 100 victories, including four rainbow jerseys. For Lippert, the moment is rare.

“I’ve been waiting really, really long to actually win a stage, or just a race,” she told the media, including Cycling Weekly, in Mauriac. “I won the National Championships, but just to win a race like this means so much to me.” 

Prior to Monday, the 25-year-old's only WorldTour win had come at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, over three years ago. Her prowess in stage two’s finish, however, in which she rounded yellow-jersey-wearer Lotte Kopecky at the line, painted her as a serial winner. 

“We knew that this is one of the hardest stages,” Lippert said of the day, which counted almost 2,500m of elevation. “It was all coming into the final climb in a group, and the girls did really well to position me. I felt really good and in control on the final climb. 

“I went for the sprint, and I think I did a good sprint,” she added with a chuckle. 

Speaking to the press by the Movistar team bus, Van Vleuten described the day as a seminal moment in the German’s career. 

“I think this is a breakthrough win for her,” the world champion said. “Now, maybe she will believe more in herself, and the kind of finishes she can do, like finishes like this, and also after a hard race. I knew that she was super strong but sometimes you need to wait for the moment, and once she starts winning, I think she will not stop.” 

Lippert’s team manager, Sebastián Unzue, also praised his rider’s spirit. 

“She’s sacrificed herself many, many times,” he told Cycling Weekly. “This is just the prize that she was working for, and she deserves, for all the hard work she has been doing in the past months. I know that this is going to be a really big confidence boost for her.

“She’s a really hard-working girl, really friendly, always happy, always in a good mood, always making a good environment in the team. She fitted in really well at the start of the season. It took her some time to get rolling, but step by step, she’s gotten better and better.”

Even though Lippert now sits second in the overall standings, 49 seconds behind Kopecky, and 10 seconds ahead of Van Vleuten, Movistar’s original plan has not changed. 

“We’ve come here to go all in for the yellow jersey,” Unzue said, stressing that Van Vleuten remained the team's leader. “This is our big goal, it’s our most important goal of the season.”  

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.