Bedankt Annemiek! - Saying goodbye to a legend

After 16 years, Annemiek van Vleuten hangs up her racing wheels with pride

Annemiek van Vleuten
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After 16 years at the top end of the cycling sport, Annemiek van Vleuten today rode her last professional race. Crossing the finish line just 25 kilometers from her home, the almost 41-year-old ended her career in the same place it had started — the Simac Ladies Tour or, as it was called then, the Holland Ladies Tour. 

It was here in 2007 that the then-24-year-old made her pro debut as a guest rider. Far from an auspicious beginning, Van Vleuten didn't even last one full day, as she crashed out early from the multi-day event. "My skills were not so good yet," she recalls laughing in a last YouTube interview for her Movistar team. Few would have expected the illustrious career ahead. Yet 16 years later, she's leaving the sport a legend. The best cyclist of the past decade and one of the greatest of all time, Van Vleuten's retirement marks the end of an era and leaves an indelible legacy that will continue to inspire generations of cyclists to come.

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.