Marianne Vos ends five years of hurt with a home World championship victory
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marianne Vos ends five years of hurt with a home World championship victory

by Ben Atkins at 12:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
World number one takes her second rainbow jersey at last as the Netherlands rules Limburg race

Marianne VosMarianne Vos of the Netherlands ended five years of agony as she finally took her second road rainbow jersey on her home roads, emulating 2008 champion Nicole Cooke as she added the World title to her Olympic gold. The world number one, who had taken the silver medal in every Worlds road race since she won her first in 2006, attacked and rode away from a breakaway group of five on the final ascent of the Cauberg climb, and continued alone to an emotional victory.

Australia’s Rachel Neylan was just unable to match the Dutchwoman’s pace over the top of the climb, but never gave up her chase and crossed the line ten seconds behind to take the silver medal. Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini was also strong on the climb, but was unable to match the other two, and took the bronze medal after 18 seconds.

“This is so amazing,” Vos said after the finish. “That last climb of the Cauberg was incredible. I was in so much pain, but the crowd was amazing. I wanted to attack so bad, and when that ends up working, it’s really super. London was nice and I thought it couldn’t get any better, but this does get pretty close.”

Vos and Longo Borghini had jumped across to the leading group on the Cauberg with just over two laps to go, which contained Neylan, the United States’ Amber Neben, Germany’s Charlotte Becker, as well as Vos’ and Longo Borghini’s teammates Anna van der Breggen and Rossella Ratto.

“Everything was right today,” Vos explained. “We attacked from the third lap and we knew it would get tough for us. But fortunately that was also the case for the rest. The team did a really good job. Especially Anna van der Breggen was fantastic.”

Vos attacked again on the penultimate climb of the Cauberg, which initially pulled Longo Borghini and Neylan clear; but they eased up a little, which allowed Neben to pull van der Breggen across. With two Dutch riders in the five-woman group, the result seemed a formality, but it was Neylan who attacked first as they hit the Cauberg for the final time.

Vos and Longo Borghini followed however, and the Dutchwoman countered with less than half a kilometre still to climb, and neither had any response. Both continued to chase, but Vos had time to grab a Netherlands flag from the crowd in the final hundred metres and cross the line in style.

Neylan time trialled to the line ten seconds later, with Longo Borghini another eight seconds behind her; Neben crossed the line in fourth, while van der Breggen finished to the cheers of the crowd to take fifth. Ratto held on to take sixth place, 3’40” behind Vos, while New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen led home the fracturing peloton after 4’37”.

Finally adding her second road rainbow jersey capped a near-perfect season for Vos, where she had won the cyclocross World title for the fifth time, won her second straight Giro Donne, her fourth edition of the World Cup, and taken Olympic gold in London 2012.

“I didn’t think too much about that,” she said. “The last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to take London’s gold out of my mind and just focus on this championship. But now I can finally start looking back at those beautiful races.”

Eight laps between Marianne Vos and her destiny

The 129km Elite Women’s race would complete eight laps of the 16.1km circuit, based on the climbs of the Bemelerberg and Cauberg. As the junior race the day before - and the under-23 men’s race that morning - had shown, it was possible for the sprinters to get around the circuit, but a far more aggressive race was expected.

Lap one was taken at a relatively easy pace, with the Great Britain and United States teams controlling the head of the peloton. The US team kept the pace up on the first ascent of the Cauberg, but only a few riders from lesser cycling nations were dropped off the back.

The pattern continued onto lap two; Russia, Germany and Italy began moving forward and, as the peloton hit the foot of the Cauberg for the second time South Africa’s Robyn De Groot became the first rider to come down in the race as her rear wheel seemed to collapse as she got out of the saddle. Shortly after the top of the climb however, a far bigger incident brought down almost half the peloton as a rider touched wheels in the middle of the bunch.

Several of the race’s big names, - including Great Britain's Emma Pooley, Italy’s 2009 champion Tatiana Guderzo, and Germany’s sprinter Ina Teutenberg and World time trial champion Judith Arndt - were either brought down or delayed by the incident, but nobody in the peloton sought to capitalise on the crash and virtually everybody was able to get back on in the course of the first half of lap three.

As the race arrived at the Bemelerberg however, the United States’ Megan Guarnier put in the first attack of the race. The US champion was followed by several riders of the bigger teams but, although she crested the top of the climb a few seconds ahead - with Ratto and a few others - the peloton quickly reformed behind her.

Guarnier accelerated again soon afterwards, and US teammate Kristin McGrath went over the top, but neither was able to get away. The attacks put further pressure on the rear of the peloton however, with a number of riders having just made it back on, but the pace eased again, which allowed most to regain contact.

The Netherlands team took control of the head of the peloton on the approach to the Cauberg for the third time, and Adrie Visser lifted the pace a little as she led onto the climb. Germany’s Hanka Kupfernagel joined the Dutchwoman at the front, but the pace was putting Teutenberg in trouble behind her.

The United states and Netherlands continued their attacks, with McGrath and Visser putting in further accelerations, along with Dutchwomen Loes Gunnewijk, Lucinda Brand and Kirsten Wild. The Germans too were asserting themselves, with Arndt, Teutenberg and Trixi Worrack all involved in attacks, but it was McGrath that finally forced herself clear on lap four.

The American was followed by Germany’s Romy Kasper, with the Netherlands’ Annemiek van Vleuten on her wheel. The three riders were able to force a small gap, and Italy’s Noemi Cantele jumped across, with Australia’s Loren Rowney and Russia’s Larisa Pankova, and the six-woman group began to slowly open a gap on the field.

The first breakaway is quashed and the second one goes

The group was a few seconds clear as it hit the Cauberg, with Norway leading the chase; Pooley moved forward - with Vos at her side - as Cantele pulled Pankova, van Vleuten and McGrath ahead. Becker pulled a chase group across at the top however, but the race came back together shortly after the finish line, and the Great Britain and United States teams took over.

There were further attacks in the first half of the lap but, on the Bemelerberg, Neben attacked, with Ratto on her wheel, and Becker pulled van der Breggen and Neylan across. The five riders quickly opened up a lead of more than 30 seconds, as the United States team blocked the chase behind. Visser then tried to jump across the gap, to try to put a second Dutchwoman in the break, but the tall rouleur was left with a mammoth task on the exposed roads.

Neben led the group up the Cauberg and, with despite the absence of a concerted chase from the peloton behind them, the gap was just 22 seconds over the top. Despite having Neylan in the break, the Australian team seemed to be leading the chase on the closing kilometre of the lap and, as van der Breggen led across the line, with three laps to go, the gap was still just 27 seconds.

Neben was marshalling the riders in the break, but van der Breggen was not working, and Becker was now resting at the back. Riders began to try to jump across, which began to lift the pace of the peloton, and the five leaders were unable to open up their lead.

At the midpoint of the lap it was up to 41 seconds, but the Netherlands was beginning to lift the pace, with Visser, and put pressure on the peloton once more. It was Great Britain that was leading the chase however, with Harris, as the biggest team to have missed the five-woman move; the gap was remaining relatively constant at around 35 seconds.

Vos bridges to the lead group and the race looks over already

Neben led up the Cauberg again but, near the top of the climb, Vos jumped away from the peloton and made it to the group. The Dutchwoman was chased across the gap by Longo Borghini, while Pooley was chasing alone behind her.

As soon as Vos arrived in the front group, van der Breggen immediately moved to the front and began to pull. Pooley was caught by a group led by Sweden’s Emma Johansson, van Vleuten, De Vocht, Australia’s Tiffany Cromwell, Russia’s Oxana Kozonchuk and defending champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy.

The chasers were 15 seconds behind the seven leaders across the finish line with two laps to go, but the peloton was just seven seconds behind them and they were soon caught. In the group ahead, Becker, Rowney and Neben stopped working, but there were two from Italy and two from the Netherlands, and all four of them were keeping the pace high.

Pankova was trying to cross the gap alone, but was 35 seconds behind the leaders, with the peloton not far behind her. The chase had gone from the peloton though, with the German team pacing Worrack back on after a bike change; with Pankova almost a minute behind the leaders, the peloton was now almost a minute and a half back as the race entered the final 25km.

Great Britain was leading the chase, with 2008 champion Nicole Cooke and Pooley on the front, but the Netherlands was blocking.

Pankova was 1’34” behind the leaders, with attacks coming out of the front of the peloton behind her another 20 seconds back. Belarusian Alena Amialiusik tried to escape, but had van Vleuten on her tail; they soon caught up with Pankova, with Pooley for company, but they were soon back in the peloton.

Vos turns the screw and seven becomes five again

At the foot of the Cauberg for the penultimate time the group was two minutes clear as Vos attacked. Longo Borghini was able to stick to the Dutchwoman’s wheel, as the local crowd roared them up the climb, and Neylan managed to claw her way across, but the other four were left behind.

The three leaders sat up as they neared the top of the climb however, and Neben pulled van der Breggen across to them. Becker was left behind, and Ratto was unable to follow the American’s pace, and the front group was down to five as van der Breggen took the front again.

Across the line, to take the bell at the start of the final lap, Ratto was 22 seconds behind, with Becker at 44, while the peloton was now 2’57” back and seemingly out of it.

Van der Breggen began to lift the pace on the Bemelerberg, and Vos took over close to the top, but there were no attacks. The Dutch duo was doing most of the work, but the peloton was so far back now there was no danger from behind. Vos then allowed van der Breggen to open a gap off the front, to force Neben to close her down, and with four kilometres to go the five riders were back together again.

Van der Breggen led onto the Cauberg for the final time, and Vos again allowed a little gap to open as she dared her rivals to chase. Neylan was the first to move, jumping away on the opposite side of the road, but Vos was on her immediately; once again Longo Borghini was watching Vos’ every move and managed to follow, but van der Breggen and Neben were done.

Into the second half of the climb though, Vos put in her own attack, and neither could respond. As she crested the top with just 1.7km to go the Dutchwoman was several seconds clear, with Neylan desperately trying to chase; the overwhelming race favourite kept the pressure on into the final kilometre though, and even had time to take a Netherlands flag that was being waved to her in the final hundred metres, before crossing the line in elation as she erased the memory of those five straight silvers.

UCI world road race championships, Valkenburg:

Elite women’s road race:

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)

Did not finish:

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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