Extract from The Road Book 2020 Edition. To read more of Anna van der Breggen’s words and much more, pre-order your copy before 29th November.
In May, Anna van der Breggen made the surprise announcement that she would retire at the height of her powers to become a sports director. With the postponement of the Olympics, she has subsequently pushed back the date of her final race till 2021. Besides, she would have had no idea in May what a flood of success would come her way in 2020 when women’s racing resumed in Spain in late July. She went on to win the Giro Rosa for a third time, and then became a double world champion in the road race and the time trial for the first time in her career. That time trial was marred by a crash by American Chloé Dygert, just as injuries affected Van der Breggen’s great rival Annemiek van Vleuten’s chances at the Giro and at the Worlds. But the facts speak for themselves: as Van der Breggen says, it was her ‘best season ever’.
In a time trial you always go to the limit. That’s why a recon is really important in this discipline; I like to know on every corner how fast I will go in the time trial. Controlling your bike is always part of cycling. Of course, I always hate it when somebody crashed and gets hurt. But winning it was a big dream. It was a really special moment.
Before the road race, I felt good because I had just become a world champion and was in good form. I liked the road race parcours, and we had a motivated and strong team. It was a big chance- maybe my last one to become world champion on the road. My Boels Dolmans teammates were there, which was really nice. I race with these girls through the whole season and it’s sometimes strange not to be able to ride these important championships together. On the other hand, it is also very special to ride with the best Dutch riders in one team- riders who are normally rivals. I am very grateful they sacrifice their own chances for me, knowing I will be their rival again for the rest of the season.
The parcours was already hard but we planned to start our attacks in the fourth lap. Because Annemiek and me were both in a position to win, we agreed that we both would try to attach and would find out who was the strongest. The race went exactly like it was planned. I was totally empty in the end.
I couldn’t really believe that I was a double world champion within three days. I still would like to do the Olympics. Then I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life with different challenges and hopefully less suffering… But 2020 was my best season ever.