Dutch cyclist thought she had won Olympic gold — instead, she came in second

As Annemiek van Vleuten crossed the finish line in the road race at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Sunday, she raised her arms in ecstasy thinking she had won gold for the Netherlands — but she hadn’t.

Instead, she finished second after the, until yesterday relatively unknown, Austrian cyclist Anna Keisenhofer. 

Confusing finish

After overtaking competitors from Poland and Israel, the Dutch team thought Annemiek was on her way to win the race. But due to poor communication, no one from the team realised that Kaisenhofer was already way ahead of everyone else.

“I thought I had won. I felt really stupid at first. But then the other girls wondered too…” said the silver medallist. 

Van Vleuten’s teammates were just as surprised by the Austrian’s triumph. Marianne Vos, who finished fifth in the race, told the NOS that “we underestimated Keisenhofer’s strength.”

Proud of the medal

Despite the slight disappointment, Van Vleuten was ultimately proud to walk away with a silver medal. 

“My goal was to be at my best level here, and I think I nailed that. It’s not the result we were hoping for, but for me personally, I think I did a really good race,” she told CNN

READ MORE | Dutch Olympic gymnastics team in quarantine as member tests positive

The Dutch cyclist was on her way to becoming the Olympic champion five years ago in Rio de Janeiro. However, she fell 10 kilometres before the finish and suffered serious injuries. 

Are you happy to hear about the Dutch cyclist’s success? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Annemiek van Vleuten at the Harrogate UCI World Championships in 2019. Adam Bowie/Flickr/CC2.0

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.


  1. I am not allowed to say it, but the women and men in professional cycling are really really thin nowadays and it just worries me a lot.
    Good that the Austrian rider won on cleverness
    and strenght rather than team efforts.


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