The pace was very high from the start, so that the peloton was almost immediately torn apart. Several riders could not keep up with the pace, including Chantal Blaak. In the meantime, a leading group had formed ahead of the peloton, including Riejanne Markus, Pauliena Rooijakkers and Yara Kastelijn.

    Technical malheur

    Van Vleuten, who had taken over yellow from Marianne Vos the day before, was comfortable in the pack. The Movistar rider seemed to be the clear favorite to keep that yellow on her shoulders after the finish, but faced a variety of technical challenges. During the section that followed the climb of the Côte d’Esmoulières, some 66 kilometers before the finish, Van Vleuten changed bikes for the first time.

    It didn’t stop there, because in the more than twenty kilometers that followed, the Dutch exchanged material three more times. Despite the material breakdown, Van Vleuten showed her strong form, because even after the four (!) bike changes she was comfortable with the considerably thinned peloton when it saw the damned Planche des Belles Filles approaching.

    Watch the images of a struggling Van Vleuten here:

    Source: Discovery +

    Deadly final climb

    That peloton followed the leading group for a long time by just under a minute, but once the deadly final climb – 7 kilometers at 8.7% – had started, the gap was halved quickly. It was Rooijakkers who fanatically pulled leather at the foot of ‘La Planche’, with Mavi Garcia in her wake. Rooijakkers did not last long there, because Van Vleuten thundered from the group of favorites in the peloton over her compatriot and over Garcia.

    Alone, she blasted toward the finish, carefully widening the gap on her pursuers. The pursuers became one pursuer, and that was Demi Vollering in the polka dot jersey. The 25-year-old Dutchman could not keep up with Van Vleuten, but had lost the rest of the favorites in the final.

    Vollering is broken after her strong final stage.

    Vollering is broken after her strong final stage.

    Meanwhile, for Van Vleuten, there was the sweetness of the frenzied fans on the extremely steep and painful last 400 meters of La Planche des Belles Filles, where the Dutch class player finally secured her overall victory.

    Dutch sweaters

    The final classification of the Tour got a great Dutch touch, because in addition to Van Vleuten’s overall victory, Marianne Vos, Demi Vollering and Shirin van Anrooij were also allowed to celebrate a jersey. The 35-year-old Vos gave Jumbo-Visma the green jersey, while Vollering (25) from SD Worx no longer let himself be deprived of the polka dot jersey. Van Anrooij (20), riding for Trek-Segafredo, finally claimed the youth classification.