Iris Slappendel was full of praise for Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) on Stage 7 of the Tour de France Femmes.
Van Vleuten was the outright favourite for the inaugural race. However, having leaked time in the first two stages, Van Vleuten revealed that she had been suffering from a stomach bug as she fought to stay in contention for the yellow jersey.
She said she “couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink [and was] super tired” after Stage 3, but has slowly recovered her legs, and started Stage 7 – the first in the mountains – some 1’28” behind yellow jersey Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma).
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She immediately set about putting time into her rivals – setting off with Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) on the Petit Ballon to distance the rest of the field. The 39-year-old then managed to distance Vollering on the Col du Platzerwasel with Elisa Longo Borghini further back.
Iris Slappendel in her role on the moto was analysing the strategy of Longo Borghini and delivered an effusive assessment of the Dutch woman.
Assessing Longo Borghini’s hopes of reeling in Vollering and Van Vleuten, she began:
“She knows that she has this alien - how she once called Van Vleuten - in front of her,” said Slappendel.
"It will be really, really hard to catch her. Longo Borghini is a great descender [but] Annemiek van Vleuten is from another planet today.”
Follow live updates from Stage 7 of the Tour de France Femmes with Nick Christian.
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