|Bicycle||Canyon Aeroad CFR|
|Stage race wins||14|
Few drivers can boast of a palmarès as decorated as that of Annemiek van Vleuten. The Dutchwoman is a four-time world champion, with titles split evenly between road and time trials, and has won every major stage race in France, Italy and Spain.
She also has two Olympic medals, one gold and one silver, both won in Tokyo in 2021.
With 2023 billed as her retirement year, here are 21 things you probably didn’t know about Van Vleuten.
1. She was born in the village of Vleuten, a district of the city of Utrecht. Her name, translated from Dutch, literally means “Annemiek from Vleuten”.
2. She started her sporting life as a footballer, playing in midfield for local club SV Ratti until she was in her early twenties. She supports FC Twente.
3. A cruciate ligament rupture in his knee in 2005 ended Van Vleuten’s football career. To keep fit after the injury, she took up cycling in her senior year and soon found she had a knack for it.
4. She studied animal science and has a master’s degree in epidemiology.
5. Van Vleuten was known as a party animal at university. “I partied late into the night,” she says CyclingTips (opens in new tab) in 2020. “It was an absolutely carefree time and is a memory I still cherish.”
6. She joined the ranks of professional cycling in 2008 at the age of 25 and signed for the Dutch team Vrienden van het Platteland.
7. Although Van Vleuten is best known for her results on the road, she has won titles in other disciplines and won the Dutch marathon mountain bike championships on her 35th birthday in 2017.
8. She has also proven to be a strong track cyclist, taking a silver medal in the individual pursuit at the 2017 World Track Championships. The Dutchwoman finished second in the final behind American Chloé Dygert, who set a world record time of 3:20.060.
9. Van Vleuten suffered from reduced blood flow to her legs in the early years of her career. She was diagnosed with a blocked iliac artery and underwent three surgeries between 2009 and 2013.
10. She has been known to train with WorldTour men’s teams. In 2019 and 2020 she attended the men’s January training camps of her then team Mitchelton-Scott. “I rode all the planned kilometers and all the planned vertical meters, only sometimes a little slower because I got off the rides a little earlier,” she continued in a blog post cycling news (opens in new tab).
11. At the 2022 World Championships, Van Vleuten broke his elbow in a fall in the mixed relay time trial. Just three days later, she won the road race with her elbow wrapped.
12. She won her first world title on the road in 2019 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with a 105km individual attack.
13. At the Rio 2016 Olympics, she was leading the road race solo when she fell on a downhill run. She suffered three spinal fractures, a concussion and spent 24 hours in intensive care.
14. The Dutch woman won a silver medal in the road race at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics despite thinking she had won gold. With no race radio telling her that Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer had cleared the day’s breakaway, Van Vleuten celebrated across the finish line. “Ruud, I was wrong,” she told her seigneur directly after. “I did not notice anything.”
15. In her spare time, she plays the guitar, an activity she said in an interview is “like yoga or mindfulness training.” cyclist (opens in new tab). She also enjoys playing the board game The Settlers of Catan with her friends.
16. Van Vleuten is a fan of Latin America, specifically Colombia, where she trained at altitude for six weeks in early 2023. “My favorite place is Colombia in the off-season because there’s a different culture there,” she said VeloNews in 2021. The Dutch woman is also learning Spanish.
17. She holds the Strava QOM on the segment for the Planche des Belles Filles – the steep climb where she wrapped the yellow jersey at the 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
18. She has raced the Tour of Flanders 15 times, more than any other race. Her two victories at the Monument were a decade apart, in 2011 and 2021.
19. Van Vleuten holds the record for oldest Monument winner, male or female, with her win in 2022 in Liège-Bastogne-Liège at the age of 39 years and 199 days.
20. No rider has ridden alongside the Dutchwoman as often as her compatriot Marianne Vos. The duo spent six seasons together at Rabobank and completed 244 days of racing with the same team.
21. On the morning of the third stage of the Ceratizit Challenge 2022 from La Vuelta, Van Vleuten completed a 50 km training ride and invited fans along with a call on Twitter. “Welcome, as long as you can follow me on my bike!” she joked (opens in new tab).
Nice to meet the Spanish talent of the future on target. See you both in @wollenong2022, good luck! Tomorrow I’ll do an easy 50km spin to get into the Australian time zone. Departure at 8.30am from Shell La Veguilla – Area de Reocin Cantabria pic.twitter.com/ENlCYmsgVeSeptember 8, 2022