Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) said she soared into yellow on Stage 7 of the Tour de France after “six days of waiting and surviving” after being laid low by a sickness bug.
Van Vleuten was the red-hot favourite for the inaugural running of the Tour de France Femmes. However, having leaked time over the first two flat 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 told Eurosport that 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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Van Vleuten produced a ride for the ages to finish the day in yellow, some 3’14” seconds ahead of Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx) in the general classification going into the final day.
And in her post-race interview, she told Eurosport that it had been a waiting game after her sickness.
"It was such a rollercoaster," she said afterwards. "After being sick - I was so, so sick - and then to win here, like this, is unbelievable and beautiful to finish here solo. Incroyable."
"My style is always attacking and not waiting until the final,” added Van Vleuten.
“I did recon the stage and saw that Le Petit Ballon was a hard one. After six days of waiting, surviving and recovering, I thought I wanted to make the biggest time gaps and that also means going on the first climb. This stage was really suited to me."
Van Vleuten will start the final day of the Tour de France Femmes in yellow – a 123.3km ride from Lure to La Super Planche des Belles Filles live on Eurosport and discovery+.
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Stream the Tour de France Femmes live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
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