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Demi Vollering seals Tour de France Femmes title as her team dominates race


By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — The Netherlands’ Demi Vollering sealed her first ever Tour de France Femmes title on Sunday shaking her head in disbelief as she crossed the finish line.

She took overall victory by three minutes and three seconds ahead of her SD Worx teammate Lotte Kopecky,

“I still can’t believe it. Hard work, but it’s not just working hard, it’s believing in it. It’s so much,” Vollering said afterward, according to CyclingNews.

“In the end, you have a dream and you work really hard for it, but you keep yourself a bit calm. You need to find a good balance in your life, and how you can do it, find a relaxed way to do all this. I think this year I feel really stable, good in what I’m doing. I feel like everything comes together, it’s just an amazing season for me.”

Another teammate, Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser, won the final day’s time trial stage while Vollering finished second, completing a dazzling race for SD Worx who won the yellow jersey, green jersey, team classification and four of the race’s eight stages.

However, it was not an entirely straightforward race for women’s cycling most dominant team.

Much was made of a 20-second penalty that Vollering received on Stage 4 for drafting behind her team car while returning to the peloton after a puncture.

But in the end, none of that mattered. Vollering simply rode away from her competitors and effectively secured the yellow jersey on Stage 7, climbing up the fearsome Col du Tourmalet with only the camera and police motorbikes for company, their headlights blazing through the fog.

She won that stage, the most difficult and mountainous in the race, by almost two minutes, consigning her compatriot, longtime rival and last year’s champion Annemiek van Vleuten to defeat.

Van Vleuten, who has already announced that she will retire at the end of the year, finished in fourth in the general classification while Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma rounded out the overall podium in third.

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