Marianne Vos of the Netherlands made cycling history when she won the gold medal in the women’s points race at the world track cycling championships in Manchester on Saturday.
Vos, a former world road race and world cyclo-cross champion, has become the first cyclist to win titles in three cycling disciplines.
And the 20-year-old Dutchwoman is now hoping her team give her the go-ahead to aim for an audacious three gold medals from two disciplines at the Beijing Olympics this summer.
Vos finished the 25km race on a total of 33 points, leaving Denmark’s Trine Schmidt with the silver on 25 and Italian Vera Carrara with the bronze.
Schmidt had claimed 20 points from a first attack which allowed her to lap the field, but Vos then Carrara followed suit.
Australia’s Katherine Bates, the defending champion, finished out of the medals in ninth place on six points.
Remarkably, Vos had not even planned to compete at the world championships because she is bang in the middle of preparing for the upcoming road cycling season. But her hand was forced after she failed to qualify for the Olympic points race at the last World Cup track event in Copenhagen.
“I didn’t even want to come here. I’m right in the middle of training in Spain for the road season,” said Vos, who would have been assured of an Olympic place had she finished fifth or sixth here Saturday. “But now that I’ve got the rainbow jersey I’m not going to complain.”
The Dutchwoman is already considered a cycling phenomenon, and could boost her reputation in Beijing this August.
“My big objective this season is to win three golds at the Olympics, in the road race, the time trial and the points race,” added Vos, although her team bosses will be looking closely at the race schedule in Beijing to make sure she does not suffer burn-out.
Vos said she would not be tempted to also race in the BMX events. “I like to keep my wheels on the ground,” she joked.
Vos’s first major world title came at the cyclo-cross world championships in January 2006, and she added another rainbow jersey when she capped a late attack to win the world road race crown in September of the same year. Last year Vos was also the overall World Cup champion.
And she put her talent on display earlier this season when she decided to compete at the 2008 cyclo-cross championships on a whim, and then walked away with the silver medal.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2008