Road Worlds: Marianne Vos finally gets her second road race world title after dominant display

Dutchwoman jumps clear on final climb of Cauberg to win from Australia's Neylan with Italy's Longo-Borghini third

by Simon_MacMichael   September 22, 2012  

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Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, runner-up in the world championship road race in each of the past five years, put in a towering perfomance to clinch victory on home soil in Valkenburg this afternoon, the second time she has won the event. Her previous win came in 2006, her first participation in the event, when she was still an amateur. Australia's Rachel Neylan finished second, with Elisa Longo-Borghini of Italy third and Amber Neben of the United States fourth.

Today, the 25-year-old Vos attacked on each climb of the Cauberg during the last three laps of the 129km race, the first of those ending the hopes of riders including Great Britain's Emma Poooley as Vos bridged across to a small breakaway group including team mate Anna Van Der Breggen.

The Dutch pair were among just five women left in contention as they swung onto the Cauberg for the final time, Vos jumping clear on the climb and already looking assured of victory as she crested the summit ahead of a flat 1.7km run-in to the finish.

Vos, winner of the Olympic road race in London in July, emulates Nicole Cooke's achievement of four years ago in winning the Olympic and world titles in the same year. 

The Cauberg proved to be stage for the dramatic moments of the race, including a big crash on the second lap in which more than 50 riders were brought down, including Vos's team mate Ellen Van Dijk, who abandoned shortly afterwards.

On the fifth of the eighth laps, five riders got clear - Neylan, Neben, Van Der Breggan, Charlotte Becker of Germany and Italy's Rossella Ratto, who would eventually finish sixth.

It was on the ascent of the Cauberg on the following lap that the decisive moment of the race came as Vos jumped clear of the bunch and quickly got across to the lead group.

The move took most of her rivals by surprise, including Pooley whose wheel she had been following, and the narrow width of the road meant that the British rider, like many others, was in no position to respond immediately due to riders blocking her.

It didn't take long for riders such as Pooley, Sweden's Emma Johansson and Italy's Giorgia Bronzini, winner of the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen last year and Geelong in 2010 to organise themselves for the pursuit, but their chase would be in vain.

Only Longo-Borghini was able to go with the eventual winner. The Italian 21-year-old would have no response, however, when Vos lauched her race-winning attack on the last climb of the Cauberg.

"It’s been an amazing year," reflected Vos afterwards. "Really incredible. It started great with the world championship cyclocross [which she won for the fourth year running] but then I broke my collarbone.

"The plan was to get in shape at the Giro d’Italia. Well, that worked: I won. Then the gold at the Olympics, the World Cup overall and now this. We had such a strong team here. I asked the girls to keep the gap at 35 seconds, you can bridge that on the Cauberg.

"Anna (Van der Breggen) was in front so that was excellent. I knew this break was the correct one, good riders on board.

"I geared up before the steepest part of the Cauberg and went flat out. It was pretty hard, especially the last 1.5 kilometers with the headwind.

But is sure helps if you’ve been here a hundred thousand times," she added, an allusion perhaps not only the hours of training that she has put in on the Cauberg ahead of today's race, but also those occasions over the last five years when she has come so close to the rainbow jersey only to hend up with the silver medal.

UCI road world championships elite women's road race

1  Marianne VOS           NED   03:14:29
2  Rachel NEYLAN          AUS        +10
3  Elisa LONGO BORGHINI   ITA        +18
4  Amber NEBEN            USA        +33
5  Anna VAN DER BREGGEN   NED        +55
6  Rossella RATTO         ITA      +3:40
7  Linda VILLUMSEN        NZL      +4:37
8  Judith ARNDT           GER      +4:37
9  Emma JOHANSSON         SWE      +4:37
10 Paulina BRZEZNA        POL      +4:37
11 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN   NED      +4:37
12 Ashleigh MOOLMAN       RSA      +4:37
13 Joelle NUMAINVILLE     CAN      +4:37
14 Alena AMIALIUSIK       BLR      +4:37
15 Emma POOLEY            GBR      +4:37
16 Evelyn STEVENS         USA      +4:37
17 Jessie DAAMS           BEL      +4:37
18 Liesbet DE VOCHT       BEL      +4:37
19 Hanka KUPFERNAGEL      GER      +4:49
20 Giorgia BRONZINI       ITA      +4:49

4 user comments

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After the break with 3 laps left, it was her's to lose because only Longo went with her.

The crash on the Cauberg was messy. Loads of riders going down and causing a mass pile up.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
22nd September 2012 - 17:50

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That should be "Giorgia Bronzini", you missed the last I.

Great result for Marianne, she looked so distraught when she lost out last year. How many people have won Olympic RR Gold and RR Rainbow Jersey in one year?

Stewie

posted by stewieatb [298 posts]
23rd September 2012 - 1:03

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I know, I know.....Only one person before Vos has been Olympic and World champion in the same year on the road either in the men's or women's road race.

Britain very own Nicole Cooke in 2008 Wink

They are the only two to have ever done it on the road, including TT champion's. Many have won the year proceeding and gone on to win Olympic or the year after and won the Worlds. So holding both title's at the same time, but never in the same year.

There are to many riders in different races to have done it on the track. But only two ever on the road and as Vinokourov isn't racing today, It can only be the two of them for another 4 years Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
23rd September 2012 - 2:19

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The double is a fantastic achievement, but don't forget that there haven't actually been that many opportunities for riders of either gender to do it.

Women's road race first introduced to Olympics in 1984, and male professionals only allowed in since 1996.

Cooke and Vos were the first, but I'm pretty sure they won't be the last.

As for the ITT, Cancellara I reckon would have won it at the worlds in 2008 if he'd decided to ride it, likewise Wiggins I think would have run Tony Marti very close this year.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8025 posts]
23rd September 2012 - 10:10

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