Marianne Vos (Netherlands) has successfully her defended her world road race title.
The Olympic road race champion added yet another honour to one of the most impressive palmares in cycling history with an imperious performance. She is also the reigning world cyclo-cross champion, and has been a world and Olympic champion on the track.
Vos accelerated on the fifth and final ascent of the Via Salviati climb and rode the final 11km alone to record yet another emphatic victory.
Emma Johansson (Sweden) and home rider, Rosella Ratto, contested the minor placings some 15 seconds after Vos had crossed the line, with Johansson outsprinting her Italian rival
Great Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead, who finished as runner-up to Vos in last year’s Olympic road race, collecting the first medal of the home nation’s campaign, rode strongly until late in the race, but lost contact with the leaders on the penultimate lap.
The 140km race from Montecatini Terme to Florence caught fire on the first of five 16.6km laps, reached after 57.2km, each punctuated with an ascent of the climb to Fiesole.
The American team set a hard early pace in a bid to whittle down the contenders, but succeeded only in isolating team leader, Evelyn Stevens, who alone of her team-mates remained in contention.
Italy was the next team to try and sap the strength of Vos before the denouement, but the defending champion’s team-mate, Anna van der Breggen, chased down their attacks.
When Vos launched her late attack, it proved unanswerable, and after a consummate display of bike handling through the historic streets of Florence, she had plenty of time to celebrate before crossing the line.
Her performance drew the admiration of the some of the biggest names in cycling. Mark Cavendish, who won the men’s world championship road race in 2011, Tweeted: “Of all ages & genders, @marianne_vos is 1 of the purest bike racers on the planet. So exciting to watch. Congrats on another world title.”
UCI elite women’s world road race championship
1) Marianne Vos (NED) – 3.44.00
2) Emma Johansson (SWE) +15″
3) Rossella Ratto (ITA) – ST
4) Anna Van Der Breggen (NED) +33″
5) Evelyn Stevens (USA) +46″
6) Linda Villumsen (NZL) +50″
7) Tatiana Guderzo (ITA) +52″
8) Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) – ST
9) Tiffany Cromwell (AUS) +1.40
10) Tatiana Antoshina (RUS) – ST