Demi Vollering sails through time trial to win Tour de France Femmes

Demi Vollering sealed overall victory at the Tour de France Femmes as her teammate Marlen Reusser won the closing time trial in Pau.

Vollering, who took the yellow jersey with victory on the Tourmalet on Saturday, began this 22.6km stage against the clock with one minute and 50 seconds over Kasia Niewiadoma and never looked troubled as she set the second-fastest time and extended her overall margin to three minutes and three seconds.

Annemiek van Vleuten showed just how much she had invested into her efforts to chase down Vollering in the Pyrenees as the defending champion, who came into this race on the back of wins at the Vuelta Femenina and the Giro Donne, finished well down in 12th, dropping from third to fourth overall.

That contributed to a big change on the podium behind Vollering. The dominant SD Worx team took a one-two-three on the day and a one-two overall as Lotte Kopecky set the third-fastest time to nick second overall from Niewiadoma by a fraction of a second.

Last year Vollering finished runner-up to Van Vleuten and had been preparing for this year’s race pretty much ever since. “I still cannot believe it,” the 26-year-old said. “Of course I worked hard, but it’s not only working hard, it’s believing in it. It’s so many things together in the end.

“You have your dream and you work really hard but you also need to keep calm and have balance in your life and find a relaxed way to do all this. This year I feel really comfortable in what I’m doing.

“Anna van der Breggen makes my training and I feel like everything is coming together and it’s just an amazing season for me.”

Van Vleuten’s struggles over the past two days mark the end of an era, with the reigning world champion planning to retire at the end of the season.

Annemiek van Vleuten on the descent
The race ended in disappointment for Annemiek van Vleuten, last year’s champion. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

“Of course I am disappointed that I was not good in the last two days,” the 40-year-old said. “I was in a battle and I gave it my all, I didn’t make any mistakes or do something wrong. I was obviously not myself as I can be which is a bit sad in my last Tour de France.”

Reusser, the European time trial champion, put in the dominant ride of the day, setting an average speed of 46.3km per hour to finish in 29 min 15 sec. “To be honest, I’m a little bit in disbelief,” the Swiss rider said. “We knew we were strong coming here, we knew we had a strong team but to finish it off like that was crazy.”

source: theguardian.com