Cycling News

Annemiek van Vleuten retires with a beautiful send-off

Annemiek Van Vleuten retires

Although world champion Lotte Kopecky took the general classification and Lorena Wiebes clinched the stage victory, the spotlight of the day belonged to Annemiek van Vleuten, who marked the conclusion of her remarkable 16-year career at the final stage of the Simac Ladies Tour. The Movistar rider rode in her last race, and although it didn’t resultin a victory, it was still an unforgettable and emotional farewell for the 40-year-old.

Spectators fete the multiple world champion

At the beginning of the race, Van Vleuten was welcomed by a banner that displayed the message ‘Annemiek thanks.’ Onlookers along the race route showered her with enthusiastic applause as she made her way towards the finish line.
There have been plenty of setbacks in Van Vleuten’s accomplished career. She experienced a bad crash during the 2016 Olympics, dealt with a broken elbow shortly before the 2022 World Championships, and faced illness at the start of the 2022 Tour de France, among other challenges.

Incredible résumé

Van Vleuten’s palmarès, which includes an impressive total of 104 wins, boasts an impressive list of achievements: two world road race titles, two world individual time trial titles, an Olympic gold in the time trial, an Olympic silver in the road race, one Tour de France victory, four Giro d’Italia triumphs,  and one La Vuelta victory. There were also two Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes wins, two Strade Bianche Donne victories and two Ronde van Vlaanderen wins.

The UCI posted about the retirement of the great cyclist on Instagram. “Thank you, Annemiek. 16 incredible years on the road, multiple UCI World Championship titles won, and so much more. Your passion and dedication have inspired us all. You will be missed,” the caption read.

Emotional final day of racing

The day of the race, van Vleuten surprised her teammates and staff with a personalized rainbow jersey as a parting gift. The presents weren’t just for the members of the Movistar team that were at the race, but those who worked at the office and service course as well.

Watch the final moments of her…

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