Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) has been voted best female road rider in 2017 by the readers of Cyclingnews. Van Vleuten won by a clear margin of more than 800 votes over her compatriot Anna van der Breggen, with Coryn Rivera taking third. European champion Marianne Vos and Tour de Yorkshire winner Lizzie Deignan rounded out the top five.
Van Vleuten enjoyed her biggest season to date and ended the year at the top of the UCI’s World Rankings. The Dutchwoman looked to be in the best form of her life at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio before she crashed. Despite fracturing her spine, she was winning again in a month and that form carried through into the 2017 season.
Van Vleuten took her first victory of the season at the Cadel Evans Road Race. Her spring was consistent and brought a spell in the WorldTour leader’s jersey but did not reap a victory. Van Vleuten’s winning ways came back in mid-May with wins at Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria and Emakumeen Bira. A national time trial would follow as well as two stages of the Giro Rosa and an emphatic victory at La Course. In October, she won the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour before closing her season at the World Championships, winning the world title in the time trial and finishing fourth in the road race.
Van der Breggen’s success ensured a Dutch dominance throughout the 2017 season. The 27-year-old switched to Boels Dolmans over the winter and spent the early months of the season mountain biking across Europe. Her road season did not get off to the best start with illness having an impact. By April, she was heading in the right direction and took second overall at the Healthy Ageing Tour before heading onto a historic Ardennes Triple.
It was the first time that the women’s peloton would be able to tackle all three Ardennes races and Van der Breggen dominated the week by winning all three ahead of her teammate Lizzie Deignan. Overall victories at the Tour of California and the Giro Rosa would follow over the coming months to give her an unassailable lead in the Women’s WorldTour rankings. She would then pocket silver medals in the team and individual time trial at the World Championships.
For Rivera, the 2017 season was a breakthrough for her after moving from American to European racing with Team Sunweb. Largely considered a sprinter, she proved many people wrong with huge performances in the hillier races on the calendar. Early victories at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and the Ronde van Vlaanderen were a high-point of the season, as well as a surprise gold medal in the team time trial at the World Championships.
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