World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten displayed her talents on the time trial bike once again today to win the second stage of Emakumeen Bira, a 26kilometre individual time trial.
The 35-year-old, on her new custom Scott plasma time trial bike, blasted around the lengthy, mostly flat course to finish 14seconds faster than her nearest rival Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans).
Her efforts catapult her into the race lead with two hilly days of racing to come in the WorldTour event.
In the opening stages the fastest time continued to change as each rider crossed the line. Gracie Elvin produced a solid ride finishing with 35minutes and 20seconds to move into fifth spot after her effort, but still with many favourites left to come.
New Zealand time trial champion Georgia Williams produced the main time to beat with an impressive effort, stopping the clock with 35minutes and 10second and moved into the hot seat.
It appeared as though no riders could match her time as she remained in the hot seat for a lenghty period.
All eyes were on the world champion and with the pressure of riding in the rainbow colours, Van Vleuten showed her class, finishing over one minute ahead of teammate Williams and a clear 14seconds ahead of her nearest rival.
However, it wasn’t an easy feat with Van der Breggen setting a faster time at the halfway mark. Nonetheless Van Vleuten used her experience and confidence to pace her effort, upping the tempo to have a faster second half.
Van Vleuten now goes into the third stage with a 14second lead over second place on the general classification.
Annemiek van Vleuten – Stage 2 winner
“I won already one time in Australia, tht was a really short one but it is always nice to win in this jersey for my team and in a European WorldTour race, so it is a special one today.
“I wanted to go as hard as possible to try and gain as much time as possible. I put everything out there that I have at the moment, I know I can be slightly better so I will go after this to Tenerife to altitude but it gives me a lot of confidence winning at this level and in the world champions jersey.
“We will take it day-by-day for the overall, Anna (van der Breggen) has shown she is really strong on the climbs. I gained some time on some of the other GC riders and I have a very strong time behind me like with Georgia (Williams) who also did a very strong time trial.
“We will see how it goes, I don’t have a huge advantage but Anna will have to attack me. I think it will be a very interesting race.”
Emakumeen Bira stage 2 results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 34:00
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) 34:14
3. Lisa Brennauer (Wiggle-High5) 34:44
General classification after stage 2:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Lisa Brennauer (Wiggle-High5)