Annemiek van Vleuten took the silver medal this Saturday during the online event of the Tokyo Olympics, in cycling. Thinking of having won the Olympic title, the Dutchwoman raised her arms to celebrate her victory.
The most mocking will remember Julian Alaphilippe, doubled on the wire by Primoz Roglic on Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2020 when the Frenchman was already celebrating his victory. Yet the story is not quite the same for Annemiek van Vleuten.
Favorite of the road race of the Tokyo Olympics, the Dutchman managed to extricate herself from the peloton to finish ahead of her main competitors. The 38-year-old cyclist even raised her arms, thinking she had won, but it was without counting on the Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer, who arrived a little over a minute earlier and therefore crowned Olympic champion.
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Van Vleuten cursed at the Olympics
In the absence of earphones during this event, Annemiek van Vleuten sincerely believed that she had won the most beautiful title of her career. Like the Batavian runner, the rest of the favorites did not immediately realize that Anna Kiesenhofer had crossed the finish line alone.
Interviewed by the BBC, Briton Elizabeth Deignan admitted that the peloton of favorites believed that Annemiek van Vleuten had won the Grail. What give rise to a nice pass of arms between supporters and opponents of the atria. Some will rejoice in such a scenario when others will judge that the members of the Netherlands team would not have raced in the final knowing that the Austrian was alone in the lead.
“I was wrong”, soberly disillusioned Annemiek van Vleuten in remarks reported by English public radio. Five years after experiencing a real trauma in Rio, the 38-year-old cyclist experienced another disillusionment.
In Brazil, the Dutch woman was heading for the gold medal but had crashed heavily on the last descent of the Olympic race. If Anna Kiesenhofer deprived him of a title in Tokyo, Annemiek van Vleuten will console herself with a silver medal. Five years ago in Rio, she had finished the day in the hospital. From this point of view, his second place today is already a great victory in itself.