Olympic champ Vos wins cycling world championships road race
Marianne Vos of The Netherlands holds a Dutch flag as she crosses the finish line to win the women's road race of the World Championship Cycling over 129 kilometres in Valkenburg, southern Netherlands, Saturday Sept. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Ermindo Armino)
Published Saturday, September 22, 2012 12:56PM EDT
VALKENBURG, Netherlands -- Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the cycling world championships road race on Saturday for the second time to add to her gold medal from the London Olympics.
Vos powered away from a leading group of five riders on the final climb up the Cauberg to cross the line in front of thousands of cheering fans while waving a Dutch flag.
"In the last lap I thought, 'well this is the moment I can be world champion,"' Vos said.
"I only thought about going for an attack on the Cauberg," she added. "Of course it hurts, but it is only 1.5 kilometres to the finish so I just kept on pushing."
The victory brought to an end a string of five world championship silver medals for Vos, who won her first world title in 2006.
Rachel Neylan of Australia was second and Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy finished third.
The race involved eight circuits of a 16.1-kilometre course around the hilly landscape of the southern Dutch province of Limburg including two short, sharp climbs, the 900-meter Bemelerberg and the famous Cauberg, a 1,200-metre hill with an average gradient of 5.8 per cent shortly before the finish line.
After avoiding an early crash that slowed several riders, Vos never looked in trouble and completed the 129-kilometre race in three hours 14 minutes 29 seconds.
Vos twice humbled the field on the Cauberg. She made her first important move at the end of the sixth circuit, sprinting clear from the main pack on the way up the hill to join teammate Anna van der Breggen in the leading group.
She then underscored that she was in a class apart this season by attacking again on the final climb. She left her main challengers standing and gave herself time to savour victory even as she crossed the line -- and to begin enjoying her other victories this season, including the Olympic gold she has yet to really celebrate.
"The last weeks I focused only on this," she said. "I didn't think about the Olympic gold or other wins. I just wanted to have this. Now I can start to look back."