UCI Road World Cup 2013
UCI World Cup, round 7 - Open de Suede, Vargarda RR
Vargarda, 132 km
Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) sealed 2013 World Cup title with sprint victory in Vargarda. Vos gained her fifth individual World Cup title, and for the second year in a row, she secured the overall with one race remaining for the World and Olympic Champion
Vos (Rabo Women) took a sprint victory in Vargarda from Swedish Champion (and local favourite), Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and Amy Pieters (Argos Shimano).
On a day when the racing was highly competitive throughout, there was no clear indication of who might take the win until the sprint. There were several significant attacks earlier in the race, firstly from Specialized-lululemon's Trixi Worrack, who made a solo attack which lasted about 15 kilometres. Later, notably, Loes Gunnewijk (Orica-AIS) and Roxanne Knetemann (Rabo Women) worked together to gain almost 1 minute 30 seconds on a chasing group. Their attack was undone by an attempt by Cecile Johnsen (Hitec Products UCK) to chase. She got to within 18 seconds of the pair in a desperate attempt to bridge the gap. More importantly, the chasers were able to catch her and then counterattack to bring back the two leaders.
The efforts at the front of the race put the main bunch back at over 3 minutes deficit with 35 kilometres left to race. In the closing 25 kilometres, a group of would-be contenders for victory formed, with some of their team-mates dropping back and out of the group, "job done". The wind had been increasing steadily during the afternoon and the final five kilometres of the eleven kilometre lap were particularly exposed to a cross-headwind. That made any final attacks from the group likely to be unsuccessful. A group sprint seemed on the cards.
There was a scare for Marianne Vos entering the final lap, however, when she punctured. With no team-car behind, only neutral service, she decided to ride on the softening tyre and wait for her team support. The World Cup leader chased back into the group very quickly and rejoined in time for an unsuccessful attack by Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) on the final climb. The group went into the finale together and tactician, Vos, led through the final corner, ahead of Johansson and Pieters. There was no doubt about her sprint and the reigning World, Olympic and now 2013 World Cup Champion had time to raise her arms to celebrate her victory.
Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) was not confident she could win, "I was pretty scared about Emma - she's fast to the line too, so that's why I wanted to take a fast last corner and sprint as hard as I could", explained Vos about the finish of the race, but not before she acknowledged the sportsmanship of her competitors; "I was quite lucky and happy that the others didn't attack me, I have to say thanks for that."
The final round of the World Cup 2013 is the GP de Plouay in Bretagne, France on 31st August.
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