A TALE OF TWO VANS
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