The Dutch women’s Olympic squad will be just as strong as you’d expect
The Dutch National team selection for the Olympic Games is always a fun one to keep tabs on. Consistently the best nation in women’s racing, the Dutch women have won six of the eight Women’s World Tour races in 2021. All four women named to the Tokyo Olympic team have won a WWT race this year, in a year where only one person has won two WWT races. Anna van der Breggen is the defending Olympic champ.
Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten, Demi Vollering, and Marianne Vos will make up the recently announced Dutch squad in Tokyo. Insert nickname about all four surnames starting with V here. In short, it is a team that will strike fear into the hearts of competitors.
Van der Breggen will race her final Olympic Games this summer. The Dutchwoman announced her plan to retire at the end of 2021 before the start of the season. In April, Van der Breggen won her seventh straight La Flèche Wallonne. She also won the opening Classic, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, in February.
Van Vleuten will be looking for revenge after she came so close to a result at the Olympics in 2016. She had broken away on the final climb with Mara Abbott and then dropped the American on the descent to the finish only to crash horribly and not finish the race. In the years since, Van Vleuten has become one of the absolute best of the sport, winning the general classification at the Giro Rosa in 2018 and 2019, the ITT world championship title in 2019 and road title in 2020, and a slew of victories at other World Tour races.
The only woman to win two WWT races so far in 2021, Vos has long been one of the greatest of all time. After a brief break from racing in 2015, Vos was still able to go to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She finished ninth in the road race there. Vos won a few races in 2017 and 2018 but finally reclaimed her place at the top at the 2019 Giro Rosa when she won four stages. She followed that string of victories with a fantastic win at La Course by the Tour de France.
The newest member of the formidable Dutch team is Vollering, who only started racing in 2016. One of the best riders of 2021, Vollering has been a crucial team player for SD Worx this season. She has consistently been in the finale working for her older/more experienced teammates, but finally got to go for her own result at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where she came away with the victory. Vollering is an exciting addition to this Olympic team, given the length of her career compared to the other three.
These four women are currently at the top of the sport. All of them are making waves in the races. As the Olympics draw closer, discussions will be had about the effectiveness of four champions taking to the start line for the Netherlands, but for now it’s exciting to see the Olympic start list start to take shape.