Dutch rider Annamiek Van Vluten wins the Longford Kermesse

When it counted, there was Annamiek Van Vluten and then the stretch.

Her rivals were left behind in what proved a masterclass of criterium racing.

The final laps of the Dutch rider showed there was enough left in reserve to soak up applause from spectators with still 2.5kms of laps left in the Longford Kermesse.

The cheeky 34-year-old was first to admit she had enjoyed playing a game of cat and mouse on the bike.

“It’s nice to play with your teammates,” she laughed.

“Actually, I like this kind of racing. It’s good from the start and you can then play the game.”

For the first 25 minutes before entering the final two laps, Van Vluten was all but nowhere to be seen.

Australian Commonwealth bronze medalist Katrin Garfoot led the early pace before Italian Valentina Scandolara later headed the initial rider group.

Garfoot, a top five finisher in Olympic time trials, regained the lead in the final stages of the criterium and broke away from the pack.

But Van Vluten blew her rivals off the road in a devastating final two laps.

Scandolara came home second from last year’s Stan Siejka champion Kim Wells.

Van Vluten wasn’t overly fussed over her preparations for Sunday, but believed she was better for the ride.

“If I was really prepared for tomorrow’s race, I would have done some training,” she said.

“I’ve been on some holidays in Australia, which has been really nice.

“This race has got me back into the rhythm and I think the race was perfect.”

NUMBER ONE: Netherlands' veteran Annemiek Van Vluten showed no problems in comfortably winning the women's Longford Kermesse on Sunday. Picture: Phillip Biggs

NUMBER ONE: Netherlands' veteran Annemiek Van Vluten showed no problems in comfortably winning the women's Longford Kermesse on Sunday. Picture: Phillip Biggs

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