Veteran rider Annemiek van Vleuten has won the historic, re-booted Tour de France Femmes on Sunday after clinching the eighth and final stage in style.
- Van Vleuten won the stage by 30 seconds from fellow Dutchwoman Demi Vollering
- Vollering was also second overall, three minutes and 48 seconds behind van Vleuten
- The best placed Australian was Grace Brown, who finished 20th overall
The 39-year-old won the stage for 30 seconds from Dutch countrywoman Demi Vollering, who also finished the race second overall.
Italian rider Silvia Persico was third in the stage, one minute and 43 seconds behind the winner.
In the overall standings, Movistar rider van Vleuten was three minutes and 48 seconds clear of Vollering (Team SD Worx) and six minutes and 35 seconds ahead of Polish rider Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon–SRAM) in third spot.
Van Vleuten had just about enough energy to punch the air in delight when crossing the line after the 123-kilometre mountain stage in the Vosges mountains of eastern France.
It featured two category-one climbs, the second ascent being the stage-ending trek up La Super Planche des Belles Filles, which finished with a daunting gradient of 23 per cent.
She entered the final stage with a lead of three minutes and 14 seconds over Vollering.
On Saturday’s penultimate stage, Van Vleuten rose from eighth overall to take the yellow jersey from Marianne Vos with more superb climbing in the Vosges.
Van Vleuten added this victory to a long list of achievements, including three Giro d’Italia Femminile titles, Olympic gold in the time trial and two world championship golds in the same discipline.
Six years ago, her career was under threat after she sustained fractures to her spine and was placed in intensive care after crashing during the women’s Olympic road race at the Brazil Games.
Vos was among the favorites, but the three-time Giro d’Italia champion ended up in 26th place overall despite winning two stages.
The best placed Australian was Grace Brown, who finished 20th overall, riding with FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope.
Fellow Australian Rachel Neylan finished 28th (Team Cofidis).