Annemiek van Vleuten won the women’s Tour de France for the first time on Sunday after clinching the eighth and final stage in style.
The 39-year-old won the stage by 30 seconds from Dutch countrywoman Demi Vollering, who also finished the race second overall. Silvia Persico was third in the stage, 1 minute 43 seconds behind the winner.
In the overall standings, Van Vleuten was 3:48 clear of Vollering and 6:35 ahead of Katarzyna Niewiadoma in third spot.
“It’s actually a dream that comes true – winning in yellow at the top. It was not an easy stage, it was not an easy week. It was a super big rollercoaster for me. To finish in yellow solo – the best way,” Van Vleuten said.
“I’m super proud to be the first winner of the TDF for the women. To have it back on the calendar and be the first woman to win it in this new version – I hope it’s a big start and we can build this into a bigger event for the women. It’s a milestone to win this first one.”
Van Vleuten had just about enough energy to punch the air in delight when crossing the line after the 123-kilometer mountain stage in the Vosges mountains of eastern France. It featured two category 1 climbs, the second ascent being the stage-ending trek up La Super Planche des Belles Filles, which finished with a daunting gradient of 23%.
She entered the final stage with a lead of 3:14 seconds over Vollering.
On Saturday’s penultimate stage, Van Vleuten rose from eighth overall to take the yellow jersey from Marianne Vos with more superb climbing in the Vosges.
Van Vleuten added this victory to a long list of achievements, including three Giro d’Italia titles, Olympic gold in time trial and three World Championship golds.