Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) was one of the most aggressive riders at the mid-week Dwars door Vlaanderen but strong headwinds prevented her from clearing the peloton along the decisive ascents on the road to Waregem.

In the end, she finished among the main field after working for her team’s sprinter Arlenis Sierra, but she noted that the race gave her a chance to ‘wake-up the legs’ ahead of her defence of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

“I’m good. I just came down from altitude. I’m happy to be back in Flanders. I look forward to Sunday. The legs are good. It will be quite a completely different race from today. Today was good training and a wake-up for the legs at sea level, and so maybe I go again [at Tour of Flanders].”

Van Vleuten hasn’t raced since finishing second to Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) in the thrilling final at Strade Bianche in Siena, Italy. She has spent the last few weeks at altitude on Tenerife, a training ground that has become somewhat of an early- season ritual for the Dutchwoman.

She launched several attacks over the short and punchy climbs at Dwars door Vlaanderen, however, she wasn’t able to clear the field given the headwinds. Knowing that it wouldn’t be possible to win the race for a second year in a row, van Vleuten turned her attention to sprinter Sierra and played a key role in shutting down threatening moves on the run-in to Waregem.


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