Road Worlds 2012: Marianne Vos wins women's elite road race

Rachel Neylan second, Elisa Longo Borghini third

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

The stage was set and Marianne Vos (Netherlands) didn't disappoint as she romped to victory in the women's road race at the world championships on home roads in Valkenburg.

After a remarkable and frustrating run of five successive silver medals, Vos ended her Worlds hoodoo in considerable style by attacking on the final climb of the Cauberg to win by 10 seconds from Rachel Neylan (Australia), while Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) came home a further 8 seconds back in third.

It was Vos' first world road title since she took the rainbow jersey as a neo-professional in Salzburg in 2006. In the intervening period, the 25-year-old has asserted her pre-eminence as the outstanding rider of her generation across a variety of disciplines, but had repeatedly fallen just short on the set-piece occasion.

In winning a thrilling road race at the London 2012 Olympics in August, however, Vos had perhaps already shaken off her fear of events, and even before she took flight on the Cauberg, there was an air of inevitability about her win.

"I knew how having the jersey felt from a long time ago, but I almost forgot after 2006," a delighted Vos said afterwards. "But this year has been very special, after the Olympics I focused really hard on this. I felt good and knew I had to profit from that."

The climb of the Cauberg was a heaving cavern of orange-clad supporters on Saturday afternoon, and Vos was always likely to forge her win on its slopes. Indeed, such was her comfort on the climb that she used it no fewer than three times as a platform to dictate the outcome of the race.

With just over two laps to go, Vos found herself corralled in the main peloton, 30 seconds behind a leading group that contained Rossella Ratto (Italy), Amber Neben (USA), Neylan (Australia), Charlotte Becker (Germany) and Vos' fellow countrywoman Anna Van der Breggen.

Sensing that the race for the rainbow jersey was in danger of unfolding without her, Vos simply took matters into her own hands, darting clear of the peloton on the Cauberg with only Longo Borghini for company. The Italo-Dutch pairing made the juncture with the leaders shortly afterwards, and with that firepower added to the mix there was little chance that they would be reeled back.

On the penultimate time up the Cauberg, Vos decided to unfurl another attack. Though lacking the ferocity of her move on the previous lap, the acceleration had the desired effect as Vos whittled down the leading group and issued a stark warning as to how the rest of the afternoon would unfold.

Only Longo Borghini and then Neylan could initially respond, while Van der Breggen and Neben would latch back on a kilometre later, but even at this stage there was a sense that the die had already been cast. Both Vos and Van der Breggen were particularly vigorous in their turns at the front of the winning break, and their intention must surely have been to draw the sting out of the rivals rather than keep their distance ahead of a peloton that was already over two minutes behind.

At the final reckoning up the Cauberg, the impressions of the previous time up the climb were confirmed. Just as the road kicked up its steepest point, Vos accelerated with venom and her move scattered the group across the hillside. Neylan edged away from Longo Borghini, while Neben and Van der Breggen watched their medal hopes slowly recede.

Up ahead, Vos was all but dancing up the Cauberg, pulling further and further away with every pedal stroke. The false flat over the top had proved fatal to the late attackers in the under-23 race in the morning, but Vos was operating on another plane.

As Vos zoomed up the finishing straight, she even had time to snatch a Dutch flag from a supporter on the roadside and freewheel across the line. After six long years, an aberration was finally put to rights.

Results:

1 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 3:14:29  
2 Rachel Neylan (Australia) 0:00:10  
3 Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) 0:00:18  
4 Amber Neben (United States of America) 0:00:33  
5 Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands) 0:00:55  
6 Rossella Ratto (Italy) 0:03:40  
7 Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) 0:04:37  
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) 0:04:49  
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) 0:04:52  
32 Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation) 0:04:54  
33 Megan Guarnier (United States of America)    
34 Charlotte Becker (Germany)    
35 Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria Mazaga (Spain) 0:04:58  
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) 0:05:03  
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) 0:05:39  
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) 0:05:41  
70 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany)    
71 Jessie MacLean (Australia) 0:06:04  
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) 0:06:22  
79 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) 0:07:01  
80 Lilibeth Chacon Garcia (Venezuela) 0:08:24  
HD Lex Albrecht (Canada)    
HD Miriam Bjørnsrud (Norway)    
DNF Romy Kasper (Germany)    
DNF Loren Rowney (Australia)    
DNF Siobhan Horgan (Ireland)    
DNF Aleksandra Sosenko (Lithuania)    
DNF Serika Guluma Ortiz (Colombia)    
DNF Doris Schweizer (Switzerland)    
DNF Daniela Pintarelli (Austria)    
DNF Lise Olivier (South Africa)    
DNF Alexandra Chekina (Russian Federation)    
DNF Martina Ritter (Austria)    
DNF Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan)    
DNF Maria Briceno (Venezuela)    
DNF Rimma Luchshenko (Kazakhstan)    
DNF Audrey Cordon (France)    
DNF Sara Mustonen (Sweden)    
DNF Jessica Kihlbom (Sweden)    
DNF Patricia Schwager (Switzerland)    
DNF Sophie Creux (France)    
DNF Joanna Van De Winkel (South Africa)    
DNF Katie Colclough (Great Britain)    
DNF Shelley Olds (United States of America)    
DNF Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)    
DNF Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands)    
DNF Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands)    
DNF Emily Collins (New Zealand)    
DNF Eugenia Bujak (Poland)    
DNF Olena Pavlukhina (Ukraine)    
DNF Anna Nahirna (Ukraine)    
DNF Semra Yetis (Turkey)    
DNF Rotem Gafinovitz (Israel)    
DNF Mia Radotic (Croatia)    
DNF Mayra Del Rocio Rocha (Mexico)    
DNF Kathryn Bertine (Saint Kitts and Nevis)    
DNF Kaat Hannes (Belgium)    
DNF Robyn De Groot (South Africa)    
DNF An-Li Pretorius (South Africa)    
DNF Sari Saarelainen (Finland)    
DNF Polona Batagelj (Slovenia)    
DNF Roberta Monaldini (San Marino)    
DNF Isabelle Soderberg (Sweden)    
DNF Lenore Pipes (Guam)    
DNF Julia Martisova (Russian Federation)    
DNF Andrea Graus (Austria)    
DNF Yennifer Cesar (Venezuela)    
DNF Emma Crum (New Zealand)    
DNF Kate Chilcott (New Zealand)    
DNF Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic)    
DNF Agne Silinyte (Lithuania)    
DNF Ursa Pintar (Slovenia)    
DNF Pavlina Sulcova (Czech Republic)    

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