PAU, France — Dutch rider Demi Vollering won the women’s Tour de France for the first time while her teammate Marlen Reusser of Switzerland clinched the final-stage time trial.
Although the 26-year-old Vollering was already in a strong position after a dominant win in penultimate stage up to Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, she still had enough energy left to finish 10 seconds behind Reusser in the time trial held in the southwestern city of Pau.
Team SD Worx completed a stage treble with Lotte Kopecky of Belgium finishing in third place. Kopecky was 38 seconds behind Reusser, who covered the 22.6 kilometres (14 miles) in 29 minutes, 15 seconds.
Kopecky’s performance also moved her up two spots to second place overall in the general classification, a total of 3 minutes, 3 seconds behind Vollering, with Kasia Niewiadoma of Poland dropping to third overall.
Niewiadoma was also 3:03 behind Vollering but Kopecky edged her out in the standings because of time splits recorded in the time trial, organizers said.
The 40-year-old Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten, last year’s Tour winner, was fourth this year, finishing 3:59 behind Vollering.
Niewiadoma won the best climber’s polka-dot jersey while Kopecky collected the green jersey for best sprinter.
Last year Vollering finished runner-up to fellow Dutchwoman 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.
“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 29:15.
“To be honest, I’m a little bit in disbelief,” the Swiss said. “We knew we were strong coming here, we knew we had a strong team but to finish it off like that was crazy.”