Vos Wins UCI Women’s Elite World Championship Road Race

By Chris Jasurek
Epoch Times Staff
Created: September 22, 2012 Last Updated: September 23, 2012
Related articles: Sports » Cycling
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Marianne Vos of the Netherlands waves a Dutch flag as she crosses the finish line to win the 2012 UCI World Championship Elite Women's Road Race. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Marianne Vos of the Netherlands waves a Dutch flag as she crosses the finish line to win the 2012 UCI World Championship Elite Women's Road Race. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Marianne Vos, riding in front of her home crowd, broke a string of being second-best five years running by taking gold in the UCI Elite Women’s World Championship road race in Valkenburg, Netherlands Saturday.

The 25-year-old Dutch rider won the World Championship as an amateur rider in 2006, then came second every year since until finally reclaiming her crown in her home nation.

2012 has been a banner year for Vos. She gold in the London 2012 Olympics, won the UCI World Cup and the Dutch national and UCI Cyclocross championship, five stages and overall in the Giro d’Italia Femminile, plus the Ronde van Drenthe, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the Grand Prix de Plouay, and the BrainWash Ladies Tour. She is far and away the strongest rider in women’s cycling.

“I knew how having the jersey felt from a long time ago, but I almost forgot after 2006,” Vos told “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.”

Vos didn’t win alone, of course. Her teammates are possibly the strongest group of female riders in the sport, and their race tactics were impeccable. After repeated Dutch attacks had weakened the field, Vos joined a breakaway with teammate Anna Van Den Breggen. The pair pushed until the other riders were worn out, then Vos attacked on the final ascent of the race and left the rest behind, winning by ten seconds.

The race comprised eight 16.5 km laps around Valkenburg, including two climbs, the Bemelerberg (900 meters at five percent gradient) and the legendary Cauberg (1,200 meters at average 5.8 percent with ramps up to twelve percent.)   

As in the Olympic road race, Dutch riders made numerous small attacks, wearing out the opposition, before American Amber Neben led a successful break on the fifth ascent of the Bemelerberg climb. Anna Van Den Breggen of Netherlands joined the U.S. rider, along with Charlotte Becker of Germany, Rosella Ratto of Italy, and Rachel Neylan of Australia.

Neben pushed this group hard, wanting to extend the gap, while 19-year-old Anna Van Den Breggen sat on, biding her time.

This group had a 30-second lead by the end of the sixth lap when Marianne Vos attacked the peloton on the Cauberg climb, with Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini on her wheel. Vos and Borghini caught the breakaway; Great Britain’s Emma Pooley tried to bridge with Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten, but couldn’t get across.

One Vos reached the lead group, the two Dutch riders teamed up to push the pace. Chase groups formed from the peloton, but none survived. The breakaway was so quick, it gained over a minute on the peloton by the start of the seventh lap.

Vos attacked on the seventh climb up the Cauberg, testing her opposition. Borghini followed, and eventually so did Neylan, while the rest struggled. Vos let the lead group reform, then sent Vend Den Breggen to the front to raise the pace even higher. When Van Den Breggen started to falter, Vos herself took over, risking burning herself out in her desire to break the rest of the riders.   

Everyone expected Vos to attack again on the final ascent of the Cauberg; Australia’s Rachel Neylan didn’t wait, and launched her own attack at the start of the climb. Borghini and Vos were right on her; the rest couldn’t keep up. One the lead three had a gap, Vos made her move, dropping Neylan and Borghini with ease as she powered up the climb.

Neylan fought hard to keep the Dutch rider in sight; Borghini had to work not to lose sight of the Australian. Neither had a chance of catching Vos. After five silver medals, the Dutch rider was determined to win the gold on home turf.

Rachel Neylan trailed Vos by ten seconds, with Borghini a further eight seconds behind. After pushing so hard to establish the break, USA’s Amber Neben didn’t have enough to contest the finish; she finished fourth, 33 seconds back.

Netherlands managed to get two riders in the top ten plus Annemiek Van Vleuten in eleventh. Italy got two in the top ten, while Germany’s Judith Arndt, riding into retirement, finished eighth

Italy’s Giorgia Bronzini, two-time defending champion, missed the break entirely and finished 20th.

UCI Women’s Elite World Championship Road Race






Marianne Vos




Rachel Neylan




Elisa Longo Borghini




Amber Neben




Anna Van Der Breggen




Rossella Ratto




Linda Villumsen

 New Zealand



Judith Arndt




Emma Johansson




Paulina Brzezna-Bentkowska







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