LONDON (AFP) — Dutch cycling sensation Marianna Vos finally added Olympic road race gold to her impressive collection of titles after dominating Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead in a two-up sprint on Sunday.
Armitstead finished second, more than a bike length behind, to take the silver — the host country’s first of the London Games — with Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia claiming the bronze after 140km of road racing.
Shelley Olds was the top American in seventh place, 27 seconds back.
Vos, the Olympic champion in the track points race in Beijing, came into the race having won five stages of the women’s Giro d’Italia as well as the event’s overall title.
And she proved that form had not deserted her with a powerful sprint inside the final 200 meters that Armitstead simply could not match.
“We gave everything in the breakaway. There were so many people. It was The Mall. It was like a wall of sound. I just sprinted to the line,” said Vos.
“After Beijing, that was the only thing that was on my mind for four years. Now that it’s happened, it’s incredible. Now the gold is mine.”
Defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke of Britain finished with the main chasing peloton less than 30 seconds behind the leading trio, who came into the capital on their own to contest the medals.
With the pressure on Britain to claim a medal after the men’s road race whitewash on Saturday, the British women made sure there would be no repeat with both Emma Pooley and Armitstead among the main protagonists.
And despite missing out on gold, an emotional Armitstead was delighted to hand the hosts their first medal of the Games.
“I am very, very happy. To be an Olympic medalist at your home Games and the first one is something I cannot get my head around,” she said.
After a series of attacks and counter-attacks by climbing specialist Pooley on the Box Hill circuit, Armitstead did well to follow Vos when the Dutchwoman countered Zabelinskaya with 45km to go.
American Shelley Olds joined the trio and together the four leaders
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