Island tour

Van Vleuten wins the women’s Tour de France for the first time

title=s

Annemiek Van Vleuten of the Netherlands, wearing the general classification leader’s yellow jersey, rides in the peloton in Lure, France, Sunday, July 31, 2022, during the 8th stage of the Tour de France women’s cycling race from Lure to La Super Board of Belles Filles, East of France. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

PA

Veteran rider Annemiek van Vleuten won the women’s Tour de France for the first time on Sunday after winning the eighth and final stage in style.

Van Vleuten, 39, won the stage 30 seconds ahead of fellow Dutchwoman Demi Vollering, who also finished the race second overall. Italian rider Silvia Persico finished third in the stage, 1 minute and 43 seconds behind the winner.

In the overall standings, Movistar rider Van Vleuten was 3:48 ahead of Vollering (Team SD Worx) and 6:35 ahead of Polish rider Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon – SRAM) in third place.

Van Vleuten had just about enough energy to hit the air with joy as he crossed the line after the 123-kilometre (76-mile) mountain stage in the Vosges of eastern France. It featured two Category 1 climbs, with the second climb being the end-of-stage hike to La Super Planche des Belles Filles, which ended with a daunting 23% gradient.

She entered the final stage with a 3:14 second lead over Vollering.

On Saturday’s penultimate stage, Van Vleuten rose from eighth overall to take the yellow jersey from Marianne Vos with another stunning climb in the Vosges.

Van Vleuten added the victory to a long list of achievements, including three Giro d’Italia Femminile titles, an Olympic gold medal in the time trial and two world championship gold medals in the same discipline.

Six years ago her career was in jeopardy after suffering spinal fractures and was placed in intensive care after crashing during the women’s Olympic road race at the Games in Brazil.

Vos was among the favourites, but the three-time Giro d’Italia champion ended up in 26th place overall.

___

More AP Sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports