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mercredi 21 septembre 2011

2011 UCI Women's Road World Cup Highlights leg 5, 6 and 7 - Season Final

Annemiek van Vleuten (Nederland Bloeit) cemented her position at the top of the World Cup table with a stylish win at the final round in Plouay, France on Saturday. Twice winner in Plouay (2009, 2010), Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo) opened with an attack which caused a break on the fourth of six laps of a 19.1 kilometre circuit. With her went World Cup leader, Annemiek van Vleuten (Nederland -Bloeit), Evelyn Stevens (HTC HighRoad), Chantal Blaak (AA Drink) and Erinne Willock (Tibco). The quartet quickly gained a gap of over one minute 40 seconds. Behind, the peloton was slowly diminished until the main chase group was just eleven riders, with the large peloton three minutes in arrears. On the fifth lap, Pooley attacked again and managed to get away, solo. She built a lead of around a minute. At the same time that she took on the leaders, Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) accelerated fiercely from the chase group and began to bridge across the gap of over one minute to the front of the race. She needed less than ten kilometres to get to the group behind Pooley and when she did, she kept going. The group went with her, which meant that Pooley's advantage began to fall. For the closing kilometres, the Briton hung on at 15 seconds, but Vos persisted and Pooley was caught with three kilometres to go. Van Vleuten was attentive for a counterattack, which she was anticipating. Sure enough, Evelyn Stevens accelerated, but got nowhere alone, van Vleuten went with her and the pair entered the final kilometre together. Annemiek van Vleuten had the strongest legs and she managed to open a gap on the American in the finishing straight. The Dutchwoman celebrated yet another World Cup win in 2011 and became World Cup Champion for the first time with 362 points. Vos was second on 315 points and Emma Johansson (Hitec Products) third with 223 points after finishing in the peloton. Van Vleuten was naturally pleased with her win. She admitted that it had not been the plan that she would win the final round, but gave nothing away: "No, it was not the plan that I would win today, that's a secret, what our plan was, but no, not today....", she was clearly relieved that Vos had crossed the gap on the penultimate lap though, "I was thinking 'ah, I'm alone', so when she came, it was fun to be together, she did a great job today" van Vleuten smiled, "She (Vos) was strong chasing Pooley and then I was expecting an attack in the final kilometres and (Evelyn) Stevens attacked and I was on her wheel and I felt good. I was just going to enjoy the day, but I got 75 points too." Van Vleuten admitted that she had not yet thought about being World Cup Champion, "I thought about it a bit after Sweden, that it was possible, but I have been focussed this year on wins in the World Cup, so it worked out well for me and Marianne with so many wins between us this year." The day was rounded off nicely for Nederland Bloeit, the team also won the World Cup classification for teams.

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