Dutch women’s cycling has been dominating the international competition for years. Marianne Vos has always been a key performer keeping the Netherlands on the podium. From her early success to her current role as an experienced competitor, the next generation will now try to overcome her power. There are a lot of Dutch champions in the peloton, but Anna van der Breggen is also an Olympic gold medalist. She is more than just a champion, she has been raising the bar in women’s cycling her entire career.
Crushing the competition since 2012
Van der Breggen only spent a few years as an amateur racer and by 2012 she demonstrated to everyone that she had a big career ahead of her. It began when she joined the Belgian squad Sengers Ladies Cycling Team, where she started winning time trials. For example, in the European championship, she won in the under 23 division and in the Tour de Bretagne, she took the podium twice as well as demolishing the time trial. With these wins she was able to compete in the World Championship races where she finished fifth, closely behind Marianne Vos.
In 2013 things slowed down for Van der Breggen. As often happens with talented young cyclists, she reevaluated her team potential. She left Sengers and started to ride for Rabobank Liv Woman. That year was not a total loss, as she did take fourth during the World Championship, creeping up on Vos who took the title again.
2014 was Van der Breggen’s breakthrough year. In the Giro d’Italia Feminino, AKA the Giro Rosa, she had a great performance finishing third on the podium. And in the first year of a new competition, the Ladies Tour of Norway, she won the overall classification, as well as bagging the Grand Prix Elsy Jacobs. These performances showed the cycling community what we already suspected… Van der Breggen was a woman to watch.
She had solid races in 2015, including winning the Giro Rosa. She raced hard in the La Course by Le Tour de France, where her cycling style and consistent performances marked her as a lead racer the next big championships. She took the win at the Fleche Wallonne for three consecutive years, 2016, 2017 and 2018. She was also strong in the World Championship where she placed second in both the time trial and the road race.
The ultimate victory in her career came in 2016. At the Olympic Games in Rio she achieved a bronze medal during the time trial, but it was her amazing performance in the road race that nobody will forget. We watched her fighting for what we all thought would be for a silver medal. At the last minute, we watched at the end of our seats, as she battled it out with an attack. In a beautiful sprint she overcame her competition and took the gold medal home.
In the years that followed, Van der Breggen won almost everything that could be won. She has been victorious in the Tour of Flanders, the Strade Bianchi, the Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of California. The only thing missing is a world title. So in this years World Championship, she is one of the favorites and it would be the ultimate achievement of her career.