Womens Olympic Road Race: Vos!

Marianne Vos is the 2012 Women’s Olympic Champion after a fantasically aggressive finale to the Women’s Road Race Championship in London

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It was an edge of seat finish between a small group including such stars such as Marianne Vos and Lizzie Armitstead (Zabalinskyia from Russia as well) and the peloton for the final 40 kilometres of the race into London through pouring rain.

After a slow start to the race, the second half of the race saw it explode in a series attacks from the teams of Holland, USA, Australia and GB before a multi world champion in many disciplines Marianne Vos pulled away a four rider move. That went down to three when they lost Shelley Olds of USA to a puncture and it was then a nail biting drag race between the leaders and the peloton.

Marianne Vos leads Lizzie Armitstead and Olga Zabalinskyia on the run in to London. Photo Rob Lampard (Velostar t-shirts)

The chase at the start was very disorganised and with so few riders in each team to play with, the break had the upper hand especially with such as an amazing talent as Marianne Vos going full gas. As the kilometres passed by, the USA team took control of the chase but still the gap, only half a minute or so, stayed the same. This despite the Russian Olga Zabalinskyia struggling to match the pace of Armitstead and Vos.

With the heavy rain falling out of the sky just as it had done in Beijing, the break were doing great to put time into the strong chase behind. With Vos looking behind and Armitstead urging the others to a bigger effort, into the last ten miles, the leading trio were working better together as they headed to the Mall.

Into the last six kilometres, Emma Pooley suffered a mechanical and that took her out of the race while there were attacks off the front of the peloton as desperation came to the fore with riders realising the chance of an Olympic medal was slipping away from them. Into the finale and Zabalinskyia kept the pace high followed by Vos with Armitstead at the back, before Vos finally gave in and went to the front.

Armitstead stayed at the back while Zabalinskyia attacked but she was unable to open any sort of gap and Zabalinskyia remained at the front as they went under the red kite with one kilometre to go. In the final rush to the line though it was Vos who held off the challenge of Lizzie Armistead with Zabalinskyia third.

Silver for Lizzie Armitstead. Photo Rob Lampard (Velostar t-shirts)

Marianne Vos: We gave everything in the breakaway in front of an amazing crowd. It was a wall of noise and then just a sprint to the line and Lizzie did a really good job in the break and also a good sprint and I’m really happy with this win.”

“After Beijing, this was the thing I have had in mind for four years and now it happens, its incredible.”

Armitsteadmeanwhile said “It’s just really strange, I am a bit shocked. Emma Pooley did exactly what was asked on Box Hill, I am so glad I committed to that race. I am so happy. I’m really, really happy. Maybe later I’ll start thinking about that gold, but I’m happy with silver at the moment.”

“I was thinking about trying to play poker in the final and I sat on with about 3k (kilometres) to go and I thought that was my best chance and it came off. I should have tried to jump her but I just went with it and so happy it came off. Marianne Vos was the one to watch and I knew that before the race. I played my tactics and thankfully they came off.”

“It’s the most special thing I have ever experienced, it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t even feel my legs, it was just so special. Lucy was fantastic in the beginning. I didn’t have to worry about being in the right position or anything. She did an incredible job.”

“Pooley as always was smashing it over the climbs, which is perfect for me, an aggressive race. Nicole was there for the back-up plan, so it was good.”

Early Doors…

The race began with a lone attack from a Brazilian rider while at the back of the peloton, drama for Emma Pooley with a puncture which wasn’t to be her last. The wet conditions were certainly playing havoc with a rider’s luck and plenty were either puncturing or crashing, or both.

It was the Dutch team who showed their intention to break the race up with Ellen Van Dijk being very prominent. She was then joined by the Aussies and the riders from the USA in having a go before Emma Pooley took advantage of the road going up, or down, to throw in a few attacks of her own. Whilst the elastic holding the peloton together didn’t look like breaking, riders were being distanced out the back.

Lucy Martin was one as was defending champion Nicole Cooke who chased back on. The two laps of the Box Hill circuit saw a flurry of attacks but still the peloton was 30 or 40 strong. Amitstead then joined in having a go before Olga Zabelinskaya went clear and got a gap.

Then an awesome piece of riding followed as Vos, one of the most exciting women riders the world has seen, lit the race up with Armitstead on her wheel. They crossed to the lone leader and what followed was an edge of the seat hour of the break being hunted down by the peloton. The end result was Vos winning, crowning a glorious career which began on the road in 2006 with her first World RR title. After the lacke lustre mens race, the women’s race in pouring rain had certainly brought the crowds to their feet and been the best advert for the sport with a world wide audience.


1  VOS Marianne 03:35:29
2  ARMITSTEAD Elizabeth 03:35:29
3  ZABELINSKAYA Olga 03:35:31
4  TEUTENBERG Ina 03:35:56
5  BRONZINI Giorgia 03:35:56
6  JOHANSSON Emma 03:35:56
7  OLDS Shelley 03:35:56
8  FERRAND PREVOT Pauline 03:35:56
9  de VOCHT Liesbet 03:35:56
10  BIANNIC Aude 03:35:56
11  PAWLOWSKA Katarzyna 03:35:56
12  NUMAINVILLE Joelle 03:35:56
13  NA Ahreum 03:35:56
14  van VLEUTEN Annemiek 03:35:56
15  AMIALIUSIK Alena 03:35:56
16  MOOLMAN Ashleigh 03:35:56
17  TREIER Grete 03:35:56
18  VILLUMSEN Linda Melanie 03:35:56
19  FAHLIN Emilia 03:35:56
20  SUNDSTEDT Pia 03:35:56
21  MAJERUS Christine 03:35:56
22  BATAGELJ Polona 03:35:56
23  FERNANDES SILVA Clemilda 03:35:56
24  STEVENS Evelyn 03:35:56
25  ANTOSHINA Tatiana 03:35:56
26  GARCIA MARROQUIN Evelyn Yesenia 03:35:56
27  RAMSDEN Denise 03:35:56
28  van de WINKEL Joanna 03:35:56
29  POLSPOEL Maaike 03:36:01
30  GUDERZO Tatiana 03:36:01
31  COOKE Nicole 03:36:01
32  HUGHES Clara 03:36:01
33  WORRACK Trixi 03:36:04
34  CANTELE Noemi 03:36:04
35  ARMSTRONG Kristin 03:36:16
36  NEBEN Amber 03:36:20
37  ARNDT Judith 03:36:28
38  PANKOVA Larisa 03:37:22
39  GILLOW Shara 03:37:22
40  POOLEY Emma 03:37:26
41  DREXEL Ingrid 03:49:19
42  GUNNEWIJK Loes 03:49:23
43  BECKER Charlotte



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