Annemiek van Vleuten blitzed to Olympic Gold in Tokyo in a performance fuelled by the disappointment of finishing second in the Road Race on Sunday.
In very hot conditions, 25 riders representing 20 nations set out to compete for gold in the ITT at Tokyo 2020. Starting and finishing on the Fuji Speedway circuit, the 22.1km testing course contained a steady 5km climb to the Fuji Oyama Golf Club and a second 3km climb near the circuit.
The race started in historic fashion with Masomah Ali Zada of the Refugee Olympic Team first down the start ramp. (You can find out more about her incredible story and aim to encourage women to ride bikes in whatever country they live here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
The early pace setter was Karol Ann Canuel, who, contrary to earlier reports, was not competing in her last race. The last starter was Anna van Der Breggen, who showed no ill effects from a topple during training the day before when an official mistook her for a non competitor.
Sarah Gigante was first to beat the 40km/h barrier to go into the hot seat with a time of 33.01.60. The first rider under 33 minutes was french rider Juliette Labous in 32.42.14. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio of South Africa was next to sit in the hot seat with a time of 32.37.60. That time stood until first Amber Neben of the USA went quicker, but then all eyes turned to Annemiek van Vleuten.
Clearly focused on getting the gold medal she thought she had taken on Sunday, Van Vleuten blitzed to the first split in 14.24.58. Setting the fastest time and putting distance into all her rivals, she continued with that impressive pace, catching riders in front of her, rolling along at high cadence and intent on standing on the top step of the podium. She had a lead of 29.32 seconds over World Champion Anna van der Breggen at the final split. At the finish she put every previous time well out of sight, finishing the a stunning time of 30.13.49 seconds.
No one could get anywhere close to the performance of the Dutch rider, and she added gold to her silver in the road race. Silver went to Marlen Reusser of Switzerland, to continue their fantastic Olympic Games cycling campaign. Bronze went to Anna van der Breggen.