Danish cross country racer Annika Langvad has found quick success in her transition to road racing. The 2016 XCO world champion made her road WorldTour debut at Strade Bianche on Saturday, finishing second behind Annemiek van Vleuten.

Langvad, who was also second at UCI mountain bike world championships in September, is splitting her time between the road and mountain bike World Cups this season.

Annika Langvad
Annika Langvad soars on her way to second at 2018 UCI XCO world championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Image: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

At Strade Bianche, Langvad had the help of her star-studded Boels-Dolmans team to carry her onto the podium. Reigning UCI road world champion Anna van der Breggen and Chantal Blaak worked hard for Langvad in the closing kilometres of the race, positioning the Dane well to win the race for second. Canadian Boels-Dolmans rider Karol-Ann Canuel contributed early on, animating the race and putting opposing teams on the defensive. 

Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) won the 2019 edition of Strade Bianche in a late, solo move.

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Teammates across off road and on

Van der Breggen and Langvad will collaborate to try take another big win next week, but under very different circumstances. The two will be in South Africa to race the ABSA Cape Epic as teammates. The eight day mountain bike stage race is contested by teams of two.

Langvad has won the grueling Cape Epic four times in the past. Most recently, she teamed up with then-teammate Kate Courtney to win the 2018 edition. The multi-talented Dane has proven successful at whatever style of racing she turns her attention to. She dominated the new Short Track (XCC) World Cup series in 2018 before adding a fifth XC Marathon world championship title to finish off her season.

While van der Breggen may be known for her extensive palmares on the road, the Dutch rider is quite skilled off road too. In 2018, she passed up the opportunity to defend her Giro Rosa title in order to race the Val di Sole cross country World Cup round in Italy. Starting near the back of the field, van der Breggen finished in 30th at her World Cup debut.

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Absolutely spent! I am sooo full with impressions and have emotional overload from todays @strade_bianche . When we rolled out I had the feeling of “Oh my God, what is this?! How do I do this?!” I just tried to hang in there and stay with the front for as long as possible. There were many times, where I thought I’d never make over the climbs and recover from the surges, since this kind of racing is so different from anything I know. I’m extremely humbled and grateful for @chantalblaak and @annavdbreggen who sacrifried themselves in the final and put their believe in me! Before that @jipvandenbos, @karolanncanuel and @c_majerus already rode like bosses to keep things under control. 👊 So all I was thinking up the final climb was : “Do it for the girls Annika!” And so I did and won the battle for 2nd. I still can’t believe it! . . @iamspecialized @iamspecialized_road @iamspecialized_wmn #iamspecialized @sramroad @zippspeed @santini_cycling @oakleybike 📸 @georgedeswijzen

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The two Boels-Dolmans teammates aren’t the only women to find success across disciplines. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot made history when she became the only rider to simultaneously hold the elite road, cross country and cyclocross world championships. The French rider is currently recovering from knee surgery.

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