Annemiek van Vleuten to ride Gravel World Championships

Retired Dutch rider insists she isn't going for victory in Veneto, whilst Vollering and Wiebes are also expected to start

Clock10:58, Monday 25th September 2023
Annemiek van Vleuten officially ended her road career at the Simac Ladies Tour this month

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Annemiek van Vleuten officially ended her road career at the Simac Ladies Tour this month

Just weeks after officially ending her illustrious road racing career, Annemiek van Vleuten has confirmed that she will be lining up for the upcoming Gravel World Championships in Veneto on October 7.

The 40-year-old finished her final road race at the Simac Ladies Tour earlier this month, but will already be pinning a number on at next month’s gravel event, she confirmed to Dutch publication AD’s podcast In Het Wiel.

“In a crazy mood I said 'yes' to that,” Van Vleuten told In Het Wiel. “The team [Movistar] liked it, the sponsors liked it and I also found it fun to participate.”

Despite hinting in a pre-retirement interview that she might take up some gravel racing - a popular path among retired road pros these days - she said this wasn’t the start of a career in off-road.

“I have no ambitions in a gravel career, so I think I will end it here,” she said.

Read more: Annemiek van Vleuten: I can leave the sport proud

In fact, it seems that even her ambitions for Veneto are very humble, and more of a chance to enjoy a race in Italy with her Movistar team rather than a serious goal.

“I'm not prepared for it and I'm not going to train for it. I'm going to participate and have a nice photo with Alejandro Valverde,” she said, referring to her Movistar teammate who has made a more serious move towards gravel after his own retirement last winter.

Though the official start list has not been confirmed, a few other big names from the road are expected to be lining up for the women’s race. Lorena Wiebes is expected to be among them, after racing a number of off-road and UCI Gravel World Series events throughout 2022. Her SD Worx teammate Demi Vollering also confirmed to WielerFlits after the European Championships that she will be racing in Veneto.

Marianne Vos has ridden - and won - some gravel this season but is currently out after undergoing iliac artery surgery, but the Dutch may select another road racer in the form of Pauliena Rooijakkers, who has won two rounds of the World Series.

In the men’s race, Wout van Aert is expected to be the biggest road star heading off-road in Veneto, taking on a mixture of current and retired road pros, as well as the gravel specialists.

Defending World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is unlikely to reclaim her title, heading to the final two UCI Mountain Bike World Cups in North America instead, whilst 2022 men’s champion Gianni Vermeersch is an unknown after riding little gravel this season.

Related Content

Link to The GC standings at the Giro d'Italia
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) currently wears the Giro d'Italia pink leader's jersey

The GC standings at the Giro d'Italia

Tadej Pogačar wears the pink jersey after 16 stages, 7:18 ahead of Dani Martínez and 7:40 up on Geraint Thomas

Clock
Link to 'My life was torn apart for nothing' – Lizzy Banks reveals 'no-fault' doping positives and her quest for answers
Lizzy Banks twice won the longest stage of the Giro d'Italia Women in her six-year professional career

'My life was torn apart for nothing' – Lizzy Banks reveals 'no-fault' doping positives and her quest for answers

British cyclist spends £40,000 to prove innocence after two positive tests and issues fierce criticism of anti-doping authorities

Clock
Link to Giro d'Italia stage 16 re-routed: Umbrail Pass removed due to extreme weather and rider unrest
Race leader Tadej Pogačar at the planned start in Livigno

Giro d'Italia stage 16 re-routed: Umbrail Pass removed due to extreme weather and rider unrest

The riders will start in Lasa on the other side of the mountain, with the distance cut from 206km to 115km

Clock
Link to Ben O'Connor says Giro d'Italia is run by 'dinosaurs' amid anger over stage 16 conditions
The scene at the start of stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia

Ben O'Connor says Giro d'Italia is run by 'dinosaurs' amid anger over stage 16 conditions

'I'd like to see him get out on the bike and do the start of the stage and see what his answer is' says Australian

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox