Anna van der Breggen

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Anna van der Breggen wins road race world title by largest gap in 29 years

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Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen won the world championships road race by the largest margin in 29 years, completing a Dutch sweep of the elite world titles for a second straight year.

Van der Breggen, 28, notched her first world title following four silver medals between the road race and time trial. She distanced the rest of a leading group of six on the penultimate climb with about 25 miles left and cruised to win by 3 minutes, 42 seconds over Australian Amanda Spratt.

Only legendary Jeannie Longo of France had a greater winning margin, according to Procyclingstats.com. Longo won the fourth of her five world road race titles in 1989 by 4:05.

“I didn’t know the time, I didn’t know anything, so I kept going until the finish line,” van der Breggen said. “I think, until the finish line, I only believed it was possible.”

Italian Tatiana Guderzo took bronze, a further 1:44 behind. The top American was Ruth Winder in 10th.

Van der Breggen covered the 96 miles in 4:11:04. Full results are here.

Van der Breggen joined legends in pairing an Olympic road race title with a world championship in the discipline — Dutchwomen Leontein van Moorsel and Marianne Vos (whom van der Breggen formerly rode for as a support rider), Longo and Brit Nicole Cooke. Van Moorsel is the only one to win all four golds — Olympic and worlds road race and time trial.

Saturday’s rout was vastly different from the Rio Games, when van der Breggen and two others surged past American Mara Abbott with 500 meters left. The Dutchwoman crossed the finish line in the same time as the silver and bronze medalists.

On Tuesday, van der Breggen took her third silver medal in four years in the time trial, 28 seconds slower than countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten in a Dutch podium sweep with Ellen van Dijk.

It’s been quite a few years for van der Breggen, who took a break from cycling during her junior career when she was selected for a nursing internship in Ghana.

Worlds conclude with the men’s road race Sunday on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold. A full broadcast schedule is here.

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Annemiek van Vleuten, back from horrific Rio Olympic crash, leads Dutch sweep at cycling worlds

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Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten led the first medal sweep by one nation in a world road cycling championships elite time trial, repeating as gold medalist two years after a horrific crash at the Rio Olympics.

Van Vleuten, 35, clocked 34 minutes, 25.36 seconds on the 17-mile course in Innsbruck, Austria.

She bettered Olympic road race champion Anna van der Breggen by 28.99 seconds, matching their one-two finish from 2017 Worlds. Ellen van Dijk, the 2013 World champ, completed the Dutch sweep with bronze, 1:25.19 back.

Van Dijk edged Canadian Leah Kirchmann by 1.62 seconds. The top American was Leah Thomas in fifth. Full results are here.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold. A full broadcast schedule is here.

In the Rio Olympic road race, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped into a ditch. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at the October 2016 World Championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in 2017 and 2018 and the Giro Rosa in July, in addition to the 2017 World time trial.

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Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course with epic comeback (video)

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Annemiek van Vleuten, the cyclist who returned from a horrific Rio Olympic road race crash to become world champion, repeated as La Course winner with an epic last-kilometer comeback on Tuesday.

Van Vleuten sprinted from several seconds behind countrywoman Anna van der Breggen to win the one-day race, including four categorized climbs, contested on part of the Tour de France stage 10 course later that day.

“With 300 meters to go, I still thought I got second, and then I saw her dying,” Van Vleuten said, adding later, according to Cyclingnews.com, “With 500 meters to go my team director in the car gave up and stopped cheering for me.”

In Rio, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped over into a ditch during the road race. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title, while van Vleuten returned quick enough to race at the October 2016 World Championships.

Van Vleuten, 35, won her first world title 13 months after the Rio Games, taking the time trial crown ahead of van der Breggen by 12 seconds. She also won the 10-stage Giro Rosa that concluded on Sunday.

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