A TALE OF TWO VANS

Procycling - - REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2018 -

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An­ne­miek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen’s mano a mano bat­tle at La Course this sum­mer summed up 2018. Van der Breggen looked like she had the vic­tory en­tirely sewn up when she at­tacked over the Col de la Colom­bière. But Van Vleuten launched a dogged, high-speed chase on the twist­ing de­scent to Le GrandBor­nand. The odds flicked back and forth be­tween the two Dutch­women. Would it be Van Vleuten, or Van der Breggen? Van der Breggen or van Vleuten? It came down to the fi­nal 50 me­tres at the death of the race, as Van Vleuten over­took her cramp­ing com­pa­triot right be­fore the line, for a fi­nale as ex­cit­ing as you will ever see. Who had the bet­ter 2018? That com­pe­ti­tion is as close as those fi­nal 50 me­tres in July. Van Vleuten won more races – 12 com­pared to Van der Breggen’s six. But they shared the most pres­ti­gious ti­tles. Van der Breggen had the up­per hand in the Clas­sics, win­ning a de­but Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flan­ders and then de­fend­ing her Flèche and Liège ti­tles. Yet Van Vleuten had the stage rac­ing ad­van­tage, win­ning the Giro Rosa for the first time and three stages, plus the Boels Ladies Tour and three stages. At the Worlds in Inns­bruck they split the spoils, as Van Vleuten de­fended her time trial ti­tle, while Van der Breggen won a de­but road ti­tle.

Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen mark­ing each other at La Course

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