OYAMA, Japan (AP) — Annemiek van Vleuten experienced many emotions after her silver medal in the Olympic road race. Embarrassment. Disappointment. Just the slightest bit of joy. There was nothing but joy after her dominant performance Wednesday in the at the Summer Games. Well, maybe a of payback, too.
The Dutch rider exacted some revenge for the miscommunication that may have cost her thelast weekend, storming over the course in the hills southwest of Tokyo. She finished in 30 minutes, 13.49 seconds, nearly a full minute ahead of second-place Marlen Reusser of Switzerland and third-place Anna .
“If I went home with a silver medal in the, I still would have been a happy person,” van Vleuten said after singing along with the Dutch national anthem on the podium. “For the people around me, now they will say I have everything.” It was sweet redemption for a Dutch Games.
Van Vleuten, the world-time trial champion in 2020, was part of a dream team of world champions heavily favored to. But they lost track of the number of riders in the breakaway and failed to the Austrian who won, leaving van Vleuten to briefly think she’d captured gold before realizing it was only silver.
On the men’s side, mountain bike favoritecrashed on the opening lap and was never a factor. On the BMX track, medal favorite Niek Kimmann was hurt in practice when he . “I’m so happy for Annemiek,” said van der Breggen, who won the in Rio. “It was a great day for us.”
After the cycling program shifted south to Izu for two days of, the teams and fans — yes, the fans — were back at the old Formula One circuit carved into the wildly sloping, tree-filled countryside near Mt. Fuji.
For the fifth, locals turned out for one of the few events allowing fans due to COVID-19 protocols. At the end of the challenging 21.7-kilometer loop, the long grandstand greeting riders were filled to 50% capacity, with fans waving cardboard to cool themselves, ducking under umbrellas when it rained, and wearing floppy clothes hats as protection from the sun.
‘Drops of rain greeted riders who set off first. Then the sun turned the water to stifling humidity, only for clouds towith a brisk breeze that pushed the riders’ aerodynamic bikes all over the road. Indeed, a week’s worth of weather seemed to be packed into one race.
The best hope of an American medal over the first week of cycling rested with Chloe Dygert, the former time trial world champion. She was seriously injured when she overcooked a corner at last year’s worlds, sending her over a guardrail and down a deep ravine, leaving her with a gruesome scar visible on her left thigh.
Dygert dominated the U.S. championships in her first competition since the injury. Still, she struggled in Sunday’sand got off to such a poor start Wednesday — she lost 51.82 seconds by the first time check — she was never in contention. Now, whether Dygert will help her world-champion is the question.
Dygert finished seventh, and 46-year-old teammate Amber Neben was fifth,against the clock. Kristin Armstrong won the past three , and the U.S. had placed a rider on the podium at every Summer the race was introduced in 1996.
Now, the dominance in the race of truth belongs to the Dutch. Van Vleuten’s gold was the first for the Netherlands in the time trialin Sydney and Athens. Breggen also won the bronze medal in Rio, which means the Dutch have now captured five of the 18 awards up for grabs at the past six Summer Games.
“I knew after the road race I was in great shape,” van Vleuten said. “Everyone was talking about everything else.about my performance. I shut off . I didn’t listen to anything. I just took the message that my coach and I had achieved the best shape possible.” More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports