Anna van der Breggen

Anna van der Breggen
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Anna van der Breggen, Olympic road race champion, sets retirement date

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Anna van der Breggen, the Rio Olympic road race champion from the Netherlands, will retire after the 2021 cycling season.

”The Olympic Games in Tokyo are, of course, a great challenge and an important reason for continuing another year,” van der Breggen said in a press release announcing she will transition to a coaching and team director role with her professional team. ”I also want to end my career with a great, full season. Especially after this year, which was largely lost due to the corona pandemic, I am enormously motivated to continue for one more year.

“I’ve been thinking about a role as team leader/coach for some time. I was quickly excited about the team’s proposal. I had gradually come to realize that I was looking for a new challenge in my life. In 2021, I want to get the best out of myself on my bike for one more season. After that, I will focus on this new job.”

Van der Breggen earned road race gold and time trial bronze in Rio, the best combined performance for a female road cyclist since countrywoman Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel swept the road events at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Van der Breggen, then 26, won the Rio road race after countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten flipped into a ditch while leading alone with seven miles left of the 87-mile event. Van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion. Later, van der Breggen took bronze in the time trial behind American Kristin Armstrong, who three-peated in the event and retired.

Van der Breggen and van Vleuten led Dutch domination this Olympic cycle, combining for four world titles and eight medals between the road race and time trial at the last three world championships.

Van der Breggen and van Vleuten nearly went one-two in both races at 2019 Worlds. But American Chloe Dygert crushed the Dutch in the time trial, winning by a record 92 seconds.

Van der Breggen started cycling at age 7, then took a break as a junior rider for a nursing internship in Ghana. Then she rode in support of Dutch superstar Marianne Vos before making her Olympic debut in 2016.

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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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