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UCI World Championships: Elite Women’s Road Race

It was another power-house victory for Marianne Vos as she crossed the line solo to win the elite women’s world road champion title.  

Vos claims victory [photo courtesy: Franck Fife/AFP/GettyImages]

With 8 laps of a 16km circuit that included the Bernelerberg and the legendary Cauberg, the women’s race was nothing less than dramatic.  The race seemed controlled at first with Great Britain and the USA keeping a strong presence at the front but it wasn’t long until the drama started.

Robyn de Groot (RSA) started the drama when her wheel buckled and she crashed before the Cauberg on lap two.  De Groot’s crash might have been a saving grace, however, because a touch of wheels at the top of the Cauberg caused a massive pile up that blocked the entire road, trapping many of the top contenders including Emma Pooley (GBR) and Judith Arndt (GER).  Some riders were forced to abandon later in the race but no one was seriously hurt and the majority of riders managed to regain contact with the main bunch before climbing the Cauberg again.

The pile up [photo courtesy]

Pile up on the top of the Cauberg [photo courtesy: Reuters]

As the bunch reformed, attacks began to fly with smaller groups trying to power away and bigger nations, especially Germany and the Netherlands, using their numbers to keep the pressure on.  It wasn’t until Amber Neben (USA) attacked on the Bernelerberg, a 900m climb averaging 5%, that the winning break was formed.  Neben, followed by Charlotte Becker (GER), Rosella Ratto (ITA), Rachel Neylan (AUS) and Anna Ven Den Breggen (NED), quickly gained 25 seconds on the bunch although Neben was forced to do the majority of the work.

Great Britain moved to the front of the peloton but as the bunch started up the Cauberg, Marianne Vos (NED) launched herself in a spectacular attack to bridge across to the break.  Vos closed the 30 second gap to the break in what seemed like an instant, followed shortly by Italy’s Borghini.

Emma Pooley (GBR) on the front of the main peloton [photo courtesy: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe]

Elite women’s peloton on the Cauberg

The tactics of the breakaway changed completely upon Vos’ and Borghini’s arrival with 2 riders representing both the Netherlands and Italy.  Neben, Becker and Neylan realize this instantly and stop working leaving Vos and her young teammate Van Der Breggen to do the pace setting.

Although a chase group formed that included Pooley and Emma Johannsson (SWE), they were unable to close the gap and were reeled back to the bunch.  The Netherlands were quick to shut down any attacks and the gap continued to widen to over 3 minutes.

Vos began to attack on every climb, eventually shelling Ratto (ITA) and Becker (GER) off the break on the penultimate ascent of the 1.2km Cauberg.  Borghini was able to follow Vos while the others were dropped and left to chase back.  Unable to shake Borghini, Neylan, Neben, after the final climb of the Bernelerberg the strategy games began.  Even after doing so much work and being dropped on the Cauberg, 19 year old Van Der Breggen attacks, forcing the other riders to chase.  The effort was quickly foiled and, as fate would have it, the race would be decided on the Cauberg.

The winning move [photo courtesy: Reuters]

As they rounded the Cauberg for the last time, led by Van Der Breggen, it was Neylan who attacked first.  Vos responded with a counter-attack and neither Borghini or Neylan could follow.  As they reached the steep section of the Cauberg, it was clear Vos was riding to victory.

In the final few hundred meters, Vos grabbed a Dutch flag and proudly celebrated as she crossed the line in 3:14.29 to claim her title of world champion. On the back of 5 years coming second after her initial world championship win in 2006, gold on home ground is not only well deserved but the perfect end to a perfect season that included winning the Giro Donne, the World Cup series and Olympic gold.

Rachel Neylan (AUS), Marianne Vos (NED), Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) [photo courtesy: Reuters]

Elite Women’s Results:

1, Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 128.8 kilometres in 3 hours 14 mins 29 secs 2, Rachel Neylan (Australia) at 10 secs 3, Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) at 18 secs 4, Amber Neben (United States of America) at 33 secs 5, Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands) at 55 secs 6, Rossella Ratto (Italy) at 3 mins 40 secs 7, Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) at 4 mins 37 secs 8, Judith Arndt (Germany) 9, Emma Johansson (Sweden) 10, Paulina Brzezna-Bentkowska (Poland) 11, Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands) 12, Ashleigh Moolman (South Africa) 13, Joelle Numainville (Canada) 14, Alena Amialiusik (Belarus) 15, Emma Pooley (Great Britain) 16, Evelyn Stevens (United States of America) 17, Jessie Daams (Belgium) 18, Liesbet De Vocht (Belgium) 19, Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) at 4 mins 49 secs 20, Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) 21, Leah Kirchmann (Canada) 22, Inga Cilvinaite (Lithuania) 23, Ceclie Gotaas Johnsen (Norway) 24, Oxana Kozonchuk (Russian Federation) 25, Yevgeniya Vysotska (Ukraine) 26, Ivanna Borovichenko (Ukraine) 27, Larisa Pankova (Russian Federation) 28, Anna Sanchis Chafer (Spain) 29, Carmen Small (United States of America) 30, Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada) 31, Tiffany Cromwell (Australia) at 4 mins 52 secs 32, Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation) at 4 mins 54 secs 33, Megan Guarnier (United States of America) 34, Charlotte Becker (Germany) 35, Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria Mazaga (Spain) at 4 mins 58 secs 36, Clemilda Fernandes Silva (Brazil) 37, Edwige Pitel (France) 38, Elena Cecchini (Italy) 39, Sharon Laws (Great Britain) 40, Sofie De Vuyst (Belgium) 41, Kelly Druyts (Belgium) 42, Martina Ruzickova (Czech Republic) 43, Annelies Van Doorslaer (Belgium) 44, Kristin McGrath (United States of America) 45, Claudia Hausler (Germany) 46, Aleksandra Burchenkova (Russian Federation) 47, Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) at 5 mins 3 secs 48, Lucinda Brand (Netherlands) 49, Olena Sharga (Ukraine) 50, Cherise Taylor (South Africa) 51, Lise Nostvold (Norway) 52, Malgorzta Jasinska (Poland) 53, Shara Gillow (Australia) 54, Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spain) 55, Amelie Rivat (France) 56, Katazina Sosna (Lithuania) 57, Trixi Worrack (Germany) 58, Andrea Dvorak (United States of America) 59, Olivia Dillon (Ireland) at 5 mins 39 secs 60, Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) 61, Petra Zrimsek (Slovenia) 62, Jennifer Hohl (Switzerland) 63, Edita Janeliunaite (Lithuania) 64, Francesca Cauz (Italy) 65, Claudia Veronica Leal Balderas (Mexico) 66, Nikki Harris (Great Britain) 67, Veronique Labonte (Canada) 68, Amanda Spratt (Australia) 69, Adrie Visser (Netherlands) at 5 mins 41 secs 70, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany) 71, Jessie MacLean (Australia) at 6 mins 4 secs 72, Gracie Elvin (Australia) 73, Marta Tagliaferro (Italy) 74, Noemi Cantele (Italy) 75, Hanna Nilsson (Sweden) 76, Evelyn Arys (Belgium) 77, Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) 78, Sandrine Bideau (France) at 6 mins 22 secs 79, Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) at 7 mins 1 secs 80, Lilibeth Chacon Garcia (Venezuela) at 8 mins 24 secs Outside time limit: Lex Albrecht (Canada) Miriam Bjørnsrud (Norway) DNF Daniela Pintarelli (Austria) Lise Olivier (South Africa) Alexandra Chekina (Russian Federation) Martina Ritter (Austria) Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan) Maria Briceno (Venezuela) Rimma Luchshenko (Kazakhstan) Audrey Cordon (France) Sara Mustonen (Sweden) Jessica Kihlbom (Sweden) Patricia Schwager (Switzerland) Kaat Hannes (Belgium) Robyn De Groot (South Africa) An-Li Pretorius (South Africa) Sari Saarelainen (Finland) Polona Batagelj (Slovenia) Roberta Monaldini (San Marino) Isabelle Soderberg (Sweden) Lenore Pipes (Guam) Julia Martisova (Russian Federation) Andrea Graus (Austria) Yennifer Cesar (Venezuela) Romy Kasper (Germany) Loren Rowney (Australia) Siobhan Horgan (Ireland) Aleksandra Sosenko (Lithuania) Serika Guluma Ortiz (Colombia) Doris Schweizer (Switzerland) Sophie Creux (France) Joanna Van De Winkel (South Africa) Katie Colclough (Great Britain) Shelley Olds (United States of America) Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands) Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands) Emily Collins (New Zealand) Eugenia Bujak (Poland) Olena Pavlukhina (Ukraine) Anna Nahirna (Ukraine) Semra Yetis (Turkey) Rotem Gafinovitz (Israel) Mia Radotic (Croatia) Mayra Del Rocio Rocha (Mexico) Kathryn Bertine (Saint Kitts and Nevis) Emma Crum (New Zealand) Kate Chilcott (New Zealand) Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic) Agne Silinyte (Lithuania) Ursa Pintar (Slovenia) Pavlina Sulcova (Czech Republic)

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