Dutchwoman Anemik van Vleuten won the seventh stage of the Women’s Tour de France on Saturday, the most difficult of the course with more than 3,000 meters of altitude in the Vosges massif. So she grabs the yellow jersey and gives a serious option for the final victory.
The slope rises and Annemiek van Vleuten appears. The 39-year-old Dutchwoman arguably killed all the hype at the Women’s Tour de France on Saturday, July 30, by winning the most mountainous stage of the edition between Celestat and Markstein, the hideous race. The icing on the cake, she grabs the yellow jersey!
She leads Demi Vollering – who takes consolation in the points jersey – by almost 3 and a half minutes and Cecilie Utrup Ludwig by 5 minutes 16. Differences that prove just how much of an alien Anemik van Vloiten is in the mountains compared to the rest of the peloton.
“It might have looked easy, but it wasn’t. I was surprised,” assured the new yellow shirt, who said she was honored to wear the tunic, “long reserved for boys only.”
Attack 78 km from the finish
Announced as the Tour’s sole favorite at the start, Annemick van Vloiten began to scatter her opponents like a puzzle from the slopes of the first pass, the Petit Ballon, 78km from the finish. In this first attack, which started even before the telecast, only Demi Vollering can follow her. Elisa Longo Borghini stuck around, but only for a while. Behind a group of pursuers, including Juliette Labous, Evita Muzic, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Katarzyna Niewiadoma, organized. The yellow jersey, Marian Voss, is now on the market.
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If Demi Vollering tried to slip away from Anemic van Vloiten in the technical descent of the Petit Ballon, the Movistar leader returned the favor in the very difficult final kilometer of Plarzerwasel. Her countryman would never see her again.
Annemiek van Vleuten approaches the final pass, that of the Grand Ballon, the highest point of the Tour, with a comfortable lead. At the top, she still has 3 min. 35 ahead of her competitor. Enough to secure her the yellow jersey, despite the delay built up in the early days when she was ill, she served her punishment.
Behind the untouchables, the rest of the overall standings began to thin out. The chasing group broke up on the final climb, Katarzyna Nievidoma, Cecilie Utrup Ludwig and Juliette Labus isolated. The Pole is third overall behind Demi Wollering, the French is fourth and the Dane is fifth – a nice comeback from her disastrous second stage.
Annemiek van Vleuten’s performance sparked fears of a peloton hecatomb due to delays, with only seven riders eventually crossing the line too late. Some by a cruel handful of seconds like Anaïs Morichon.Four riders did not make it to the end of the race, including double stage winner Lorena Wiebes.
On Sunday, the new yellow jersey will have to defend its tunic during the final stage of the 2022 edition, a prestigious stage that will take the peloton to the slopes of the Ballon d’Alsace, the first pass climbed by men in 1905 and the Super board of beautiful girls.