Van Vleuten extends contract but 2019 could be derailed by injury

Mitchelton-Scott have handed Annemiek van Vleuten an early one-year contract extension, keeping the world time trial champion at the team until the end of the 2020 season. The contract comes as the Dutchwoman revealed she may be below her best for much of the 2019 season as she recovers from a serious knee injury.

Van Vleuten already had a contract in place for next season but Mitchelton-Scott have secured her services for a fifth season, at the end of which she will be 38 years old.

Since joining the Australian team in 2016, her career has shifted gears, and she has captured the world time trial title, La Course, and the Boels Ladies Tour in each of the past two seasons. This season she also won the Giro Rosa and ended the year as the winner of the WorldTour ranking.

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“I had a contract until 2019, and I felt very honoured that they wanted to extend my contract to 2020 which was for me very important, I feel so at home in this team and it makes me proud to be part of this team that is really stepping up every year,” Van Vleuten said in a statement from the team. 

“I have had my best years for sure with Mitchelton-Scott. I felt last year could not be better but this year was even better. I think one thing is the atmosphere in the team, the Australian mentality but also the way they work, they helped me to set new goals and really believe in the riders, especially [coach] Gene Bates. I worked well with him and he helped to set some out of my comfort zone goals, like winning the Giro Rosa and to achieve it together this year, that was very special for me.”

Having become the most dominant rider in the women’s peloton, Van Vleuten hardly needs a safety net, but she will be able to approach what could be a difficult 2019 season with peace of mind.

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