I don’t usually write personal stuff, but Annemiek van Vleuten’s crash at the Olympics’ Road Race affected me in kind of a personal way. Van Vleuten is probably one of the most spectacular cyclists in the world. She never hides, she never stays in the bunch quietly. She loves cycling, she is a cyclist.
Few people could see her as a top favorite for the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro. I didn’t even think she could be in the top-10 of the race, but what is cycling without surprises? Saúl said earlier this week that both Elena Cecchini and Annemiek van Vleuten would try to breakaway before the final climb. They did. Anyway, Annemiek wasn’t okay with the top-8 spot.
Is she a climber? Nope, she’s not. And she doesn’t care. She attacked with the best climber in the world, Mara Abbott, in the final climb. And then she did it again. On the top of the mountain, Annemiek decided she needed to win solo, she needed to be a cyclist. “Races are won climbing and lost descending,” says everybody. They’re right. Annemiek lost the Olympic gold trying to be a cyclist.
I couldn’t watch the race — and I’m writing this without having watched it yet. But a couple of GIFs were enough for me to get scared. When Annemiek attacked and went solo, I tweeted I would cry if she won the gold. And I’ve cried, but sadly not because of that gold. A mix of feelings have come out of me when she crashed and now I need to say I’ve been “acojonado” (please don’t search that word) till I’ve heard she was okay.
Annemiek van Vleuten is not only a great cyclist. She’s also an impressive person. She’s a world class star, but every time we, El Pelotón, have needed something from her, she’s been the kindest girl in the world. Crying is okay, letting our emotions go free is okay. Especially if it is because of something like this, that let me speechless for minutes that looked like days.
Peluchen power. KOMAAAAAAN ANNEMIEK!!!