Games of the 30th Olympiad, London 2012
Road Race - Vos gets the dream win
Vos led the winning trio onto the finishing straight on
The Mall to claim her second Olympic gold medal to go along with her Olympic
title in the points race on the track in Beijing. VOS powered home the win
with a sprint from 175 meters to go ahead of Lizzie Armitstead, who claimed
Great Britain's first Olympic medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games with
silver. Olga Zabelinskaya who initiated the winning move with an attack
midway through the second of two passages over Box Hill won Bronze.
contrast, to the men’s race, conditions where poor for the women’s race.
The heavens opened before the start and wet roads caused some problems for
the riders. There were a number of punctures early on before the roads dried
a little and the sun shone. Not for long though. The rain started to fall
again on the approach to the main climb.
A number of attacks early on split the bunch and a leading group of 45 riders hit the short but steep, Staple Lane climb. The Dutch team were aggressive from the gun, with Ellen van Dijk (NED) attacked four times to rattle the bunch in the first two hours of racing before arriving on a 15.5km circuit featuring two passages over the short but steep Box Hill climb.
Clara Hughes (CAN) set the early pace on
the climb and did the damage. USA’s Evelyn Stevens attacked with team mate
Kristin Armstrong. Ellen van Dijk (NED) moved to the front and attacked. The
tall and powerful Dutch woman managed to gain a small advantage before the
Amber Neben (USA) and Emma Pooley (GBR) is the gap. On
the climb for the first time, Stevens led the bunch over the top for the
Over the climb,
Pooley attacked over top. Pre-race
favourite Marianne Vos (NED) closed the gap and Shelly Olds (USA) was all on
The pace was
incredible on the decent. Vos ,
Emma Johansson (SWE), Pooley, Armitstead, Annemiek
van Vleuten (NED) and Charlotte Becker (GER) were all evident on the front.
On the second climb up Box Hill, Olga Zablinskaya (RUS) attacked on the
climb. Vos went with her. Olds chased with Armitstead and
the four leaders created a gap.
in a huge dig to form a promising quartet coming off the Box Hill
circuit nursing a slender 12-second gap.
favoured Germans and Italians were slow to organise a chase, allowing the
leading foursome to carve a promising 23-second gap with 35km to go.
punctured just as the leaders were gaining momentum and dropped all the back
through the chasing peloton. Her American teammates towed her back to the
main pack, but her medal hopes evaporated.
With 39km to go
the gap between the leaders and the chasing group was 16 seconds. Despite
all the efforts form Judith Arndt (GER) it took some time before the other
teams moved to help.
With 25km to go
the lead was 4 seconds. The
Italians moved to help with the chase with the Germans.
Vos and Armitstead were
Heavy rain started to fall, further complicating the chase group, which had been reduced to about 30 riders. The leaders, realising the medals were within their grasp, collaborated to drive home the winning margin.
an Arndt were working hard on the front to close the gap. With 20km to go
the gap was 37 seconds.
On the approach
to Richmond Park the gap was 38 seconds.
Armitstead and Vos contributed most to the work. Zabelinskaya
moved through. The gap was stretching to 41 seconds with 15km to go.
The rain was
falling heavily as Armitstead was encouraging the other riders to pull
through with a lead of 50 seconds.
With 13.7km to
go the gap was 39 seconds but increased again at 11km to 48 seconds.
Back in the chase they were not organised. Sweden, Italy and Germany were all trying to work to close the gap.
leaders worked well together. With 9km to go the lead was 46 seconds. With
8km to go the gap was 38 seconds.
With 5km to go
the leaders had 1 47 seconds gap. Arndt worked tirelessly on the front to
try to close the gap to the leaders.
With 2.5km to go
the three leaders started to think about the finish. The gap to the chase
was 37 seconds.
With 1.5km to
go, Zablinskaya picked up the pace. The gap was 32 seconds with 1km to go.
Zablinskaya was on the front but not for long. With 100m to go, Vos attacked. Armitstead just
could not make the gap.
In the chase
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (GER) led the bunch across the line . Olds who would
certainly have medalled had she not punctured, finish 7th.
. Olds who would certainly have medalled had she not punctured, finish 7th.
Many of the top women will next compete in the individual time trial on Wednesday 1 August.
Vos (NED) was overjoyed as she crossed the line in first place. “
I was a little nervous early on. The break work incredibly hard, we gave it
everything. In the last 1km the crowds were amazing. On The Mall it was a
wall of noise. I have had a amazing season and the last four years since
Beijing have brought me to this. It is amazing, “ said Vos
Beijing (2008 Olympic Games), that was the only thing that was on my
mind for four years. Now that it's happened, it's incredible. Now the gold
Discussing the tactics during the race, Vos added "The only thing I thought was, I've got to cross the line first. That's what's simple about cycling, but in the end, it's very tough. We made it a tough race. There were not so many countries who also attacked, but we did very well to make the race aggressive. When we arrived at Box Hill, there was a lot of wind and it was difficult to get into a breakaway. It stayed all together, but after Box Hill, there was another small climb, and we knew that."
"Of course I knew it was 140km, you need some energy for the finish but I also knew that a hard race was good for me and that the others had to follow and use their energy. So for me it was the plan to attack quite early and many times to tire myself, but also to tire the others."
Reflecting on the race, "It was a hard race today with the weather conditions also, but I felt good. We made (it) a hard race with the Dutch squad with early attacks from Ellen van Dijk, Loes Gunnewijk, and an attack from Annemiek [van Vleuten] also. That was the plan and then, during the race, l thought that this might be the day that it is coming all together."
Vos is always prepared for major events, "First, the most important thing is to get in really good shape at the start and that's what I tried to do, that's what we tried to do with all the team. I had some troubles with my preparation with a broken collarbone but I could race again after four weeks." "I was a little stressed, but not too much, and then the last few weeks were quite good and I knew I was ready for the race. In cycling you can't predict everything you just have to race the race and make the choices during the race. I felt good and I knew that there were going to be chances."
On the winning breakaway, "We were four, but then [Shelley] Olds (USA) punctured, then we were all riding for a medal, and that's a big advantage. The other two rode hard as well, especially Lizzie [Armitstead]. It's all intuition in the final sprint. "You have to keep on pushing until the finish because it was our biggest chance for gold or a medal. That's what we did. Only in the last two kilometres did we start to watch (each other) and to prepare the sprint."
hard, because at 500m to go, you already see the finish line. And you think,
'I have to go!' but you have to wait. Eventually, I still went early. I saw
Armitstead come next to me, but she didn't come through."
course I knew Lizzie is really fast on the line. So I wasn't all that confident.
But I knew I had a chance, a big chance. I also knew if I made a little
mistake Lizzie would take the gold. So I had to choose the right moment at
the finish. And I think I did it."
Netherland's first gold medal at London 2012, Vos said, "An
early medal is always important, whether it's gold or silver. We are very
grateful to Marianne VOS and her team."
On being in London, "We are here with our family and we are very happy. These few drops of rain, that's nothing. This (gold medal) makes up for everything."
Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (GBR) after winning the silver medal at the women's cycling road race at The Mall on Sunday.
the silver medal:
On her tactics
On being the
first British medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games:
criticism of Nicole COOKE (GBR) after the 2011 world road cycling
championships (when she suggested that COOKE was not working as part of the
team) in light of COOKE's team role in ARMISTEAD's silver medal at London
ZABELINSKAYA (RUS) - bronze
taking the bronze medal:
tactics for the race:
the winner, Marianne VOS (NED):
Vos (NED) was confident ," I have done everything to
prepare, I am ready”, said Vos before the race
Zabelinskaya (RUS) was very relaxed before the start. “I
am ready. I have recovered well from Thuringen
last week and feel strong,” said Zablinskaya
More quotes below:
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
race after finishing fourth:
reason they didn't win a medal:
(USA), who suffered a puncture and lost contact with the winning
breakaway, after the women's road race on Sunday.
into the winning breakaway:
out on a chance of a medal and finishing seventh:
race after finishing 30th:
the downhill, not the climb, that really made the difference. Most of the
riders had to slow down because of the slippery conditions, while the
breakaway escaped. As a team, we tried to help Germany to close the gap,
but the first three were too strong."
race after finishing 34th:
performance, finishing 31st:
GB's plan and the silver medal for Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD (GBR):
BRAILSFORD - director of performance
in the decisive break:
medal winner Marianne VOS (NED):
VLEUTEN (NED) and Ellen van DIJK (NED) after teammate Marianne VOS
(NED) won the gold medal in the women's cycling road race on
van VLEUTEN (NED)
Marinanne VOS winning the gold:
breakaway staying ahead:
this is also a win for herself (she finished 14th):
Van DIJK (NED)
On her own
medal chances in an early breakaway (she finished over the time limit):
HUGHES (CAN) - 32nd
the atmosphere around the race:
was epic, it was awesome, there were so many people on the course. We were
wondering if people would come and watch the women’s race, so it was
amazing to have so much support in the pouring rain."
the race conditions:
was terrifying, it was like really technical. The roads were slippery,
crashes. Racing in the rain is not fun."
not getting into the winning break:
was gambling. We don’t have a really strong team or the maximum numbers
of four (riders). You could see even Germany miss the breakaway. I was
there when it went, and took a gamble to wait when (Olga) ZABELINSKAYA (RUS)
went. Then when (Elizabeth) ARMITSTEAD (GBR) went and I was caught behind
the Americans (USA). I don’t know whether I could have gone with
her condition ahead of the time trial (on Wednesday):
felt really good, I climbed every section at the front, so going into the
time trial I have a really good sensation. I am really excited for
feelings about today's race:
Netherland's team tactics:
lessons from Saturday's men's road race:
van VLEUTEN (NED)
Netherland's team tactics:
role of Marianne VOS and herself:
dropping the sprint specialists:
On the Box
starting on The Mall:
watching the men's race Saturday:
our card of Shelley OLDS (USA) to play as our sprinter, but we have
Evenlyn STEVENS USA), myself and Amber (NEBEN, USA) who are fine if a
with four-rider teams:
thing you do not want to do is miss that opportunity if there is a break
that goes because people will be looking at us."
defending her Olympic time trial title on Wednesday:
"I had it
planned with my coach that today is going to be really hard and I have
planned for that in my training, so I can give it everything I have. I
still have two days to recover. At this level, you train your body to
recover within two days."
the race compared to the road race four years ago in Beijing:
FERRAND PREVOT (FRA)
being the youngest athlete in the race:
her expectations for the race:
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