Marianne Vos: “I can come up with all kinds of excuses, but the others were simply too strong.”
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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Marianne Vos: “I can come up with all kinds of excuses, but the others were simply too strong.”

by Ben Atkins at 6:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
World champion concedes that a third straight Giro Rosa victory is now impossible

marianne vosThe women’s peloton was to witness something almost unheard of in today’s brutal fifth stage of the Giro Rosa, as World and Olympic champion, and undisputed World number one Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) suffered a bad day. The winner of the last two Giri was forced to watch her chances of a hat trick of victories in the women’s Corsa Rosa, as she was unable to follow the pace set by 2010 Giro champion Mara Abbott (United States).

Vos eventually reached the finish in 15th place, escorted by teammate Megan Guarnier, 5’15” behind Abbott. It’s rare for the Dutchwoman to finish outside the podium places of a road race, to finish that far down is almost unheard of. The result of this was that the 26-year-old slipped from first place overall to seventh, and now trails Abbott by 3’20”.

“It’s been going well, the past few days, but it has taken a lot of strength,” Vos admitted after the stage. “But I think it’s mainly because long climbs have not been in part of my preparation. Today was a serious test and I just was not good enough. I can come up with all kinds of excuses, but the others were simply too strong.”

Vos’ different preparation this season is due to her different racing priorities. Having achieved all of her ambitions on the road in 2012 - with the World and Olympic titles to add to her second Giro crown and fourth World Cup - she has been competing in mountainbike races.

"My climb skills must be affected by the other training approach with a view to mountain biking,” Vos conceded. “I had hoped that it would still be okay, but that was not the case. On the final climb I had quickly realised that this just was not my terrain and certainly not my day.”

Abbott attacked with compatriot Evie Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) almost as soon as the climb began, and Vos - who had dominated in the mountains in the two preceding Giri - was unable to respond.

"I tried to go, but blew myself up. The pace was just too high,” Vos said. “Then I slowly saw the light go out. One by one they came past me. After a while Megan Guarnier came to me. She got me in tow to try to minimise the our losses a little, but there was nothing left to save.”

There remains one more mountain stage in the Giro Rosa, where Vos could try to take back some of the time she lost today, but the World champion concedes that there is little chance of her being able to do that.

“I'm not suddenly going to find my climbing legs overnight,” Vos said. “They are just not here this year in the Giro. I have those two stage wins to cherish, and we will see what is possible on Saturday.

“The classification is gone I think,” she added. “There’s nothing I can do, the rest are too strong this time. It does hurt that I had to give up time to more riders than Stevens and Abbott. Those two are pure climbers, so not their prevalence is not surprising, but I had to let them go.

“Fortunately, I do know the cause, but losing is never fun.”

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