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Van Vleuten completes sweep with Vuelta victory

Less than a month before her 40th birthday, Annemiek Van Vleuten won the women’s Vuelta on Sunday to complete a sweep of this year’s major tours.

On the fifth and final stage into Madrid, the Dutch Movistar rider finished safely in the main pack, seven seconds behind the day’s winner, Italian Elisa Balsamo of Trek-Segafredo. 

Balsamo, the world road-race champion, outsprinted Belgian Lotte Kopecky of SD Worx and a second Itaian Marta Bastianelli (UAE) at the end of a 96.5km circuit through the streets of central Madrid.

In the overall standings, Van Vleuten finished 1min 44sec ahead of Italian Elisa Longo Borghini with another Dutch rider, Demi Vollering, third.

Van Vleuten grabbed the lead when she won the mountainous third stage of the race by more than two minutes on Friday.

The race finished in the same place as the men’s Vuelta which also concludes on Paisaje de la Luz later on Sunday.

This year’s Vuelta was five stage long. The first edition of the Tour des Femmes, which started the day the men’s Tour ended, had eight stages. The Giro Donne, held after the men’s race, was 10 stages.

Van Vleuten, the reigning Olympic tine trial champion, also won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic this season. 

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