Cycling World Championships: women's road race

Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos wins second World title as Emma Pooley is the best-placed Briton in 15th.

23 September 2012 Last updated at 16:25

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As it happened

  1. 1705: 

    And that is that. Chapeau Marianne. A terrific piece of racing by the Dutchwoman.

    Thanks for your company today. I'll be back from 1000 BST on Sunday to bring you the men's road race, which will also be streamed live on the website. How will Britain fare? Mark Cavendish knows he won't be winning but he has revealed who the team will be riding for

  2. 1703: 

    A little more from Vos: "I thought about going for the attack on the Cauberg. Of course it hurt but it was only 1.5km to the finish so I kept on pushing. When I got to 300m to go I could put my hands in the air and I saw someone had a flag so I grabbed it. In the last few weeks I've been focussing on this and not thinking too much about the Olympic gold. Now I can start to look back and reflect on what I have done."

  3. 1702: 

    Here's Vos on the win: "It is so special to race in your own country. Van Der Breggen did a really good job to keep us in front. I knew it could be the decisive break and it was great to see the gap growing from one, to two and then to three minutes. When we got to the last lap I thought this is the moment when I could be world champion."

  4. 1653: 

    BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar: "We were predicting a bunch sprint but thanks to Marianne Vos, they were coming in one-by-one. It was like a mountain stage. She is a joy to watch when she is at the top of her game like that. Riders like that don't come along too often."

  5. 1650: 

    And here comes the rest of the field, Pooley is the first Brit home, finishing 15th in a bunch four minutes, 47 seconds behind the winner.

  6. 1648: 

    Vos's winning time was three hours, 14 minutes, 29 seconds. Australia's Rachel Neylan finishes 10 seconds back to take the silver and Italy's Elisa Longo Borghini comes in eight seconds later to take bronze.

  7. 1646: 

    That was a staggering piece of riding up the Cauberg by Vos and she becomes just the second rider, after Britain's Nicole Cooke in 2008, to win the Olympic and World road race titles in the same year.

  8. 1645: 


  9. 1644: 

    Vos is looking over her shoulder as she comes into the finishing straight, mouth agape, breathing hard as she continues to push hard. But there's time to pick up a Dutch flag from a fan in the closing 100m.

  10. 1643: 

    The Dutch crowd are going wild for Vos who comes into the final kilometre with a massive lead over Neylan. "Marianne has done what I thought wasn't possible to ride like this," says Millar. "It shows her class."

  11. 1642: 

    David Millar is expecting the medals to go to Vos, Neylan and Longo Borghini and here come the attacks. Neylan is the first to show her hand and Vos and Longo go with her. And here goes Vos. No messing about. "She's got wings on her wheels" screams Hugh Porter as the Dutchwoman opens up a winning lead.

  12. 1639: 

    We are inside the final 4km and Van Der Breggen kicks clear but America's Amber Neven covers. The bottom of the Cauberg is approximately 2km from the finish line. Who has the legs for the climb?

  13. 1636: 

    BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar: "The other four know what's going to happen. Marianne is going to go on the Cauberg. It wouldn't surprise me if one of the girls decided to ride up at her own tempo because if she tried to follow Vos there is the danger she would put herself into the red and that could allow another rider to catch her on the run-in."

  14. 1633: 

    Vos takes over at the front as the road begins to ramp upwards. No big move yet though and the quintet are pedalling up the hill in a steady train. Just 7.5km remaining.

  15. 1631: 

    Vos is looking remarkably fresh to say she's 120km or so into a 129km race. She's taking a little breather in the wheel of her team-mate Van Der Breggen. The other three riders are happy to sit in their slipstream and be pulled around this final circuit. Will Vos go for it on the Bemelerberg or save herself for the final assault of the Cauberg.

  16. 1625: 

    The peloton crosses the line almost three minutes back. Don't think we're getting a British winner today. The big question is will Marianne Vos end a run of five successive second-place finishes in this race and win her second world road race title? We are about 20 minutes from finding out.

  17. 1623: 

    A big effort from Vos that to drop two riders and David Millar is worried that she is doing too much. "It's a different style of riding to the men because you couldn't get away with riding like that," he says. And as he says that, Vos puts in another spurt. 14km remaining for the leaders.

  18. 1621: 

    Vos sits up, realising she's not going to be able to shake off Borghini and Neylan and as she looks around for her team-mate Van Der Breggen, Neylan tries a little dig but Vos is awake to the move and gets in her wheel. Van Der Breggen gets back into the group as Italy's Ratto and Germany's Becker are the two to fall away. The leaders go across the line - one lap, or 16km remaining.

  19. 1618: 

    The leaders enter Valkenberg and hit the bottom of the Cauberg for the penultimate time and the home fans give Vos a cheer that could almost lift her to the summit. And buoyed by the cheers, Vos has again gone on the attack but this time Italy's Elisa Longo Borghini and Australia's Rachel Neylan go with her. The trio have suddenly opened up a significant lead.

  20. 1613: 

    BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar on the splintering of the field on the climb up Belemerberg: "Like in the men's race, what has been easy for 10 laps suddenly feels like climbing Mont Ventoux."

  21. 1612: 

    Larisa Pankova is trying to bridge the gap between the peloton and the leading septet but the Russian is hanging in no-man's land and as I type that, she is hoovered up Pooley who is leading a group of four in pursuit. They are one minute, 40 seconds behind though. Two of that quartet are from the Netherlands and Germany though and will offer no help.

  22. 1607: 

    The two Italian and two Dutch riders are taking turns to push the pace at the front of the escapees. The German, Australian and American women are happy to let them. Inside the final 30km. Could this break be crucial? #bbcsportsday

  23. 1601: 

    An Italian also jumped across to make the leading group seven strong and David Millar reckons "five of them should stop working now and let the Dutch pair try and win this".

  24. 1559: 

    The Olympic champion is not hanging around here and she zips up the Cauberg and joins her team-mate Van Der Breggen in the leading bunch. This is looking good for the 25-year-old because Van Der Breggen has been taking it easy in the leading quintet for a lap or so and will have saved a bit of energy. Pooley eventually reacts and jumps clear in a group which features double defending world champion Bronzini of Italy.

  25. 1555: 

    Time for the Cauberg again and the leading quintet are safely round the 90 degree left-hander and stomping on the pedals as they begin the ascent. The peloton swings round and here goes Marianne Vos.

  26. 1551: 

    The Dutch riders are marshalling the peloton, with their big hope Marianne Vos sitting pretty in about fifth place, well protected as they go through a feed station. Nicole Cooke gets her back wheel clipped by a French rider, who takes a tumble, but the Briton appears unaware of the commotion as she continues on her way.

  27. 1547: 

    BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar: "The Netherlands have ridden a faultless race so far."

  28. 1543: 

    This leading group contains Italian Rossello Ratto, America's Amber Neven, Australia's Rachel Neylan, Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands and Germany's Charlotte Becker. Their lead is hovering around the 30 second mark. Just 40km of racing left.

  29. 1537: 

    Australia are continually going on the attack off the front of the peloton which is baffling David Millar in the commentary box. The general idea is if you have a rider in the break, make other teams wear themselves out by chasing it down. By chasing, the Australians are doing more work than is necessary and providing a slipstream for other riders to help bridge the gap - which is, of course, good news for the British contingent.

  30. 1534: 

    Here we are then at the bottom of the Cauberg for the fifth time. Will Pooley go on the attack? All the big names are together near the front of the peloton as the lead is chopped down to 22 seconds. "The Dutch rider has stopped helping in the break," says David Millar. "That says the Dutch are only looking for a win for Marianne Vos."

  31. 1529: 

    "It is the worst case scenario," says Millar as the race clock confirms that the quintet out front have extended their lead to more than 30 seconds. It looks like this break may stick. Porter again says Pooley has to attack on the Cauberg if no other team helps her close the gap down. "Vos and Sweden's Emma Johansson are likely to go with Pooley if she does go," states Millar. The race is certainly heating up nicely.

  32. 1524: 

    "America have a clear gameplan and I think they're trying to set it up for Evie Stevens," says BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar as another rider clad in the stars and stripes stretches her legs. An Australian, Dutch, German and Italian rider latch on. Again, the British riders need to be watchful.

  33. 1518: 

    And suddenly, it's as you were at the front of the race. Everyone is back together and BBC commentator Hugh Porter suggests that if Pooley wants to win a medal she has to try and get clear because she won't be strong enough in the sprint. David Millar agrees, although adds that she needs to track Vos as well.

  34. 1517: 

    Pooley and Laws have already won medals at this year's World Championships, helping their pro cycling team, AA, win bronze in the team time trial last Sunday.

  35. 1514: 

    Four laps down, four laps to go then and the leading six is now a group of 10. Britain's Sharon Laws is among them while Pooley and Vos continue to lead the peloton a few seconds behind.

  36. 1508: 

    The riders sweep left round the corner at the bottom of the Cauberg and Pooley, who is an accomplished climber, is dancing in her pedals with Marianne Vos alongside, looking equally as comfortable. Pooley and Judith Arndt lift the pace on the front of the peloton as we approach the halfway mark of the race.

  37. 1504: 

    Aggressive riding from the Dutch, German and American riders so far. And as I type that, a trio from the afore-mentioned nations spring clear from the peloton. They are joined by an Italian, Australian and Russian. Not such good news for Britain. Pooley is leading the peloton which is also not good news as she is using up energy pulling the main bunch along but this break needs monitoring.

  38. 1500: 

    And here go the Dutch again on the Bemelerberg to the delight of the home fans lining the hill. Lucinda Brand is the latest to get away from the front. British rider Sharon Laws takes it upon herself to close this one down. A couple of Germans have a go before another Dutch woman Adrie Visser turns the screw. Pooley content to sit near the front of the chasing bunch.

  39. 1457: 

    You will be able to read David's thoughts on the men's road race a little later this afternoon. I spoke to him immediately before this race and he told me that it would be too hard for British rider Mark Cavendish to defend his title. Could it be made for Tour of Britain winner Jon Tiernan-Locke? The story will be live later this afternoon.

  40. 1454: 

    BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar: "The circuit doesn't seem as hard as I had been told. It's a one-climb loop really. It's a course that is made for a bunch sprint in Sunday's men's race. Not a big bunch sprint but a bunch sprint."

  41. 1451: 

    Good to see some action off the front of the peloton at last. British riders Pooley and Cooke appear to be untroubled though with the latter dragging the peloton up to the escapees. The German and Dutch riders are continuing to test the others though.

  42. 1449: 

    Dutch rider Loes Gunnewijk goes on the attack and BBC Sport co-commentater David Millar says: "That was a good place to go. Everyone else has been going on the climbs and she went while everyone was relaxing after the climb." As soon as the attempted break is brought back, another Dutch rider tries and then a German goes.

  43. 1445: 

    Dutch and German riders are tapping out the pace at the front of the peloton as they ascend the Cauberg for a third time and here goes an American on the attack again but once more it is brought back. Three laps down, five to go and most of the riders appear to be back in the leading bunch.


    From John Sampson on Twitter: "Nice seeing #bbccycling in Heerlen, hopefully we can get some good times from the Brits. Gives us expats something else to smile at!"

  45. 1437: 

    Good news for Colclough who is back with the main bunch and working her way up the side of the depleted peloton to her team-mates.

  46. 1435: 

    More aggressive tactics from the USA. Guarnier has another try off the front of the peloton but it again comes to naught. Pooley and Cooke shadowing every move, intelligently conserving energy by riding in their slipstreams.

  47. 1433: 

    First real attack of the day comes on the third ascent of the Bemelerberg with American Megan Guarnier having a little dig but Cooke is among several riders who quickly get onto her wheel and nullify the break. Colcough's group is 15 seconds behind the leaders.

  48. 1430: 

    The slow pace of that crash only aided the problems as the riders all collapsed in a heap on top of each other and it took a good few seconds to untangle the mangled mess. Colclough is racing along with a group of riders trying to bridge the gap back up to the leading bunch.

  49. 1426: 

    It's going to take some sorting out this. There are 60 riders in the front bunch and David Millar tells us that's why riders are encouraged to race as near to the front of the peloton as possible. Judith Arndt also among those delayed by the crash but, like Pooley, rejoins the front bunch. Replays show a coming together of an Italian and Czech rider caused the accident and Nicole Cooke just squeezed through.

  50. 1421: 

    Just up the road, there's another crash and this is a big, big one. Looks like about half the field have gone down on the climb up the Cauberg. Britain's Katie Colclough and Emma Pooley are among those delayed - Colclough's mouth covered in blood, evidence that she was caught up in the spill.

  51. 1419: 

    Robyn de Groot has the first big spill of the day going round the corner David Millar was just talking about. The South African stepped on the pedal as she came out of the corner and her gear appeared to slip and as she fought to regain control, her back wheel buckled and down she went. Made of stern stuff these cyclists.

  52. 1416: 

    BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar: "Surprising no breaks have gone, they are all racing quite conservatively. Here they are going into the final corner before the Cauberg. It's the definitive corner of the race because if you're not up near the front you have no chance of competing at the finish."

  53. 1412:  
    Simon Brotherton, Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

    On Twitter: "Peloton all together on 2nd lap of 8 in the Women's Road Race at the World Champs on dry, mild afternoon."

  54. 1410: 

    Italian rider Giorgia Bronzini is another to keep an eye on. The Italian is chasing a third successive victory in this race, although she is more of a sprinter so the final slog up the Cauberg may not suit her.

  55. 1407: 

    Stevens has a terrific story - she was a stockbroker on Wall Street who, having done most of her training inside while watching television, entered a race in 2008 on her cheap maroon bike as a novice and beat the professionals by four minutes. Don't believe me? It's true I tell you.

  56. 1403: 

    American rider Evie Stevens is also in decent form, having finished second in the individual time trial. The 29-year-old also won the team time trial with her pro team and beat Vos in the one-day classic Fleche-Wallone back in April.

  57. 1401: 

    The peloton is very much together as they complete the first of eight laps, although the British riders are pushing the pace along. Others to look out for in today's race...Germany's Judith Arndt. The 36-year-old won the individual time trial earlier in the week and won her only world title in 2004. This is her final race and she may want to bow out in style.

  58. 1355: 

    The riders are on to the Cauberg for the first time - it's a legendary climb in cycling circles as it makes an appearance in the Amstel Gold one-day race, which is the most important road cycling race in the Netherlands. Since 2003, the race has ended at the top of the climb which is 1,200m long with an average gradient of 10%, although one section is 16%. Today's finish is around 800m from the top of the climb though which may give those who are not great going uphill, the chance to contest the finish.

  59. 1348: 

    Right then, time to look at the main contenders and let's start with Vos. On top of her racing prowess on the road, the Dutchwoman is also a pretty nifty cyclo-cross rider - the one on the grass and mud - having won the last four world titles and five in seven years.

  60. 1344: 

    Emma Pooley, with her British team-mates Katie Colclough, Nicole Cooke, Nikki Harris and Sharon Laws, is up near the front of the peloton which is being led by the United States team.

  61. 1341: 

    The opening few kilometres of this race are being ridden at a very pedestrian speed. The whole peloton is still together as they head up the Bemelerberg for the first time. It's around 900m in length with an average gradient of 5%.

  62. 1337: 

    BBC Sport co-commentator David Millar: "Marianne Vos could win this race in a sprint finish, or she could win on her own. It all depends on what she wants to do."

  63. 1334: 

    I expect to be in the saddle for around four hours today, so I'm going to need your help to get me through it all. How do you see the race panning out? Who will challenge Vos? Emma Pooley is being tipped as the best British rider to do so, while Germany's Judith Arndt may fancy a dig in her final race. Text me on 81111, putting cycling at the front of your message and your name on it, or Tweet #bbccycling

  64. 1331: 

    Here we go then, 132 competitors from 37 countries set off on the 52nd running of the women's road race. It's a circular course that is made up of eight laps of a little over 16km each. A couple of little hills to negotiate on each lap, the Bemelerberg and Cauberg climbs - more on which later.

  65. 1329: 

    Vos, who pipped Britain's Lizzie Armitstead to gold in the London 2012 road race, is undoubtedly the favourite. But there are a whole string of women determined not to let the 25-year-old have it all her own way.

  66. 1323: 

    Hello and welcome to live text commentary of the women's road race at the World Championships in Limburg. Live TV coverage of the race is just getting underway on this very webpage, or you can tune in via the red button if you so wish. The race itself gets under way at 1330 BST.

  67. 1320: 

    Will anyone stop Marianne Vos of the Netherlands from winning a second world road race title in front of her home fans this afternoon? Vos is favourite to add to her victory back in 2006 - she has decent form inbetween too, finishing second in each of the intervening five races.

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