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There is action early today with La Course by Le Tour de France setting off from Annecy at 9.00am. We caught up with a number of riders before the start…

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The Giro Rosa finished on Sunday. Annemiek van Vleuten claimed the title after a dominating performance with an amazing ride in the TT and on the road to Zoncolan. She referenced those moments as highlights of the 10-stage event but, like many riders in La Course today, the Dutchwoman believes that those who did not do the Giro will be better prepared for the challenge on the road from Annecy to Le Grand Bornand.

Before the start of the race, RIDE Media caught up with a number of riders for some quick pre-race vox pops.

– Click the SoundCloud files below to listen to the interviews. –

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Subscribe to RIDE Media’s SoundCloud station for more cycling interviews.

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Annemiek van Vleuten

RIDE: I’m with Annemiek van Vleuten who has just come off a big win in Italy and you’re ready to race again in France…

Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott): “Yes, I’m ready. Not optimally prepared, but I’m ready.”

The transfer yesterday would have been a bit damaging, but do you feel like you’ve recovered from that or is it the race that you needed to recover from?

“I think you know that you cannot recover from a 10-day stage race in one day, with or without travelling. But we will see.”

You’re absolutely flying at the moment. What can someone do to beat you? Are we considering you the favourite or, now that Pauline and a couple of others have come in to this race – girls who didn’t do the Giro Rosa – who are we going to look out for?

“For sure the girls that did not do the Giro have an advantage… so, they’re coming optimally prepared and more focussed on this race.

“But I felt really good. Beforehand, I thought I would not be able to race here against girls who are fresh but, to be honest, [considering] I’ve just finished after 10 days [of racing], I feel pretty good still.”

And the highlight of the Giro Rosa? We didn’t get to see a lot of it – people working on the Tour de France – but we followed it on Twitter. Can you just tell me what the most special moment for you was?

“I think… winning the time trial by two and a half minutes on the uphill. Then I got confidence that I am [climbing well] and am really strong this year in this Giro. Then also winning on the Zoncolan, that made it even more special – yeah, to win on such a climb… I saw all the big names winning there on the side of the road.”

It’s amazing to go up there and now to be in a setting like this [in Annecy]. It’s a good life.

“Ah, it’s a good life, yeah. I really enjoy it… even if I would have not won the Giro, I really enjoyed everything and I like training, I like racing… so, for me it’s a good life.”

…What is it about Dutch cycling that seems to make you so prosperous at the moment?

“Yeah, in general – also the guys are doing so well – so it’s super good. There’s obviously a very popular sport in the Netherlands. But I think also we’re very lucky with our generation.

“For the women, we were always super good – we make each other stronger, we went on some training camps together. We fight each other but we also train together.”

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