2022 Women’s Tour de France: Annemiek van Vleuten wins race revival after brutal week

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It seems only fitting that Annemiek van Vleuten — a cyclist whose career has been defined by comebacks — won the long-awaited revival of the Women’s Tour de France following a “rollercoaster” ride of her own.

Van Vleuten, who began feeling sick just hours after stage one on Sunday, was struggling just to eat and drink earlier this week. The two-time Olympic medalist turned things around in the mountains, winning stage seven on Saturday with a dominant solo ride.

The 39-year-old Dutchwoman entered the eighth and final stage of the 2022 Tour de France Femmes with a 3 minute, 14 second lead, but her victory appeared in jeopardy early on Sunday due to mechanical issues that resulted in three bike changes.

But van Vleuten came back. Like she always does.

Six years ago at the Rio Olympics, Van Vleuten was leading the women’s road race and having the best race of her career when she had a horrendous crash on a downhill turn. She was placed in intensive care at a Brazilian hospital, where she was diagnosed with three small spine fractures and a concussion.

Van Vleuten was back on her bike within two weeks and went on to win her first world title in 2017 and two Olympic medals (gold in the time trial, silver in the road race) at last summer’s Tokyo Games.

On Sunday, van Vleuten attacked with six kilometers remaining and went on to win both the stage — a 123-kilometer mountainous climb from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles — and the 2022 Tour de France Femmes title.

“That’s actually a dream that comes true,” she said. “It was not an easy stage. It was not an easy week… and even today it was not easy. But to finish here in yellow? Solo? (That’s) the best way.”

Van Vleuten, who has said she plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2023 season, also hinted at the progress still left to be made in women’s cycling.

“I hope it’s a big start for more and that you can build this event to a bigger event for the women, also. Men and women,” she said.

2022 Tour de France Femmes – Final General Classification Ranking (Top 10): 

Rank

Athlete

Team

Total Time / Time Behind

1

Annemiek van Vleuten

Movistar Team

26h 55′ 44″

2

Demi Vollering

SD Worx

+ 3′ 48″

3

Kasia Niewiadoma

Canyon–SRAM

+ 6′ 35″

4

Juliette Labous

Team DSM

+ 7′ 28″

5

Silvia Persico

Valcar–Travel & Service

+ 8′ 00″

6

Elisa Longo Borghini

Trek–Segafredo

+ 8′ 26″

7

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig

FDJ Suez Futuroscope

+ 8′ 59″

8

Évita Muzic

FDJ Suez Futuroscope

+ 13′ 54″

9

Veronica Ewers

EF Education–EasyPost

+ 15′ 05″

10

Mavi García

UAE Team ADQ

+ 15′ 15″

2022 Women’s Tour de France: Stage-by-Stage Results and Standings

Stage

Date

Course

Distance and Course Type

Stage Winner

Yellow Jersey (General Classification Leader)

Green Jersey (Points Classification Leader)

Polka Dot Jersey (Mountains Classification Leader)

Young Rider Classification Leader

Team Classification Leader

Combativity Award

Stage 1

24 July

Paris (Tour Eiffel) to Champs-Élysées

82 km (51 mi) — Flat stage

Lorena Wiebes

Lorena Wiebes

Lorena Wiebes

Femke Markus

Maike van der Duin

Canyon-SRAM

Gladys Verhulst

Stage 2

25 July

Meaux to Provins

135 km (84 mi) — Hilly stage

Marianne Vos

Marianne Vos

Marianne Vos

Maike van der Duin

Maike van der Duin

Stage 3

26 July

Reims to Épernay

133 km (83 mi) –Medium-mountain stage

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig

Femke Gerritse

Julie De Wilde

Alena Amialiusik

Stage 4

27 July

Troyes to Bar-sur-Aube

126 km (78 mi) –Medium-mountain stage

Marlen Reusser

Julie De Wilde

SD Worx

Marlen Reusser

Stage 5

28 July

Bar-le-Duc to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges

175 km (109 mi) –Hilly stage

Lorena Wiebes

Julie De Wilde

Victoire Berteau

Stage 6

29 July

Saint-Dié-des-Vosges to Rosheim

128 km (80 mi) –Flat stage

Marianne Vos

Julia Borgstrom

Marie Le Net

Stage 7

30 July

Sélestat to Le Markstein

127 km (79 mi) –Mountain stage

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten

Demi Vollering

Shirin van Anrooij

Canyon-SRAM

Annemiek van Vleuten

Stage 8

31 July

Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles

123 km (76 mi) — Mountain stage

Annemiek van Vleuten

Mavi Garcia

Final Winner

Annemiek van Vleuten

Marianne Vos

Demi Vollering

Shirin van Anrooij

Canyon-SRAM

Marianne Vos

You can watch a replay of stage eight of the 2022 Women’s Tour de France via Peacock

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

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2022 Women’s Tour de France: Annemiek van Vleuten wins race revival after brutal week originally appeared on NBCSports.com