Vos wins world title
Valkenburg, Netherlands - Dutch Olympic champion Marianne Vos rounded off an extraordinary year by recapturing the women's title on Saturday at the world road race championships, six years after her previous triumph.
Vos, 25, won in a time of 3hr, 14min, 29sec with Australia's Rachel Neylan 10sec further back to take silver and Italy's Elisa Longo Borghini claiming bronze.
Vos's success ended a soul-destroying run of five silvers as she dominated the 129km race, choosing her moment to escape 30km out from the line.
She set a searing pace and did not relent even over the final 2km on the eighth and final ascent of the Cauberg climb, taking the wild acclaim of a partisan crowd at the finish after she had the time in the final straight to cross over and take the national flag from a spectator.
Vos said that it completed an incredible year which saw her land the cyclocross world championship, break her collarbone in May, win the Tour of Italy, the Olympic road race title and the World Cup overall crown.
"I have had an exceptional day," she said. "I was protected throughout the whole race, my team worked brilliantly.
"Everything went as planned. I attacked relatively early so as to make the race as tough as possible for the others."
Neylan, 30, was delighted with her silver medal.
"We knew she (Vos) wouldn't wait until the final stretch," said Neylan.
"I was already happy to be in the team, so a silver medal is exceptional."
Longo Borghini, 20, tried to go with Vos on her first attack on the Cauberg but admitted that the Dutch rider had too much in the tank for her.
"I thought I could keep on her wheel till she made her effort on the final climb," said the Italian, daughter of a former champion skier and whose brother is a professional rider with the Liquigas team.
"She was way too fast for me and I paid for the efforts in the other climbs."
The championships climax on Sunday with the men's road race.
Results on Saturday at the road cycling world championships:
Women's Road Race (129km)
1. Marianne Vos, Netherlands, 3 hours, 14 minutes, 29 seconds
2. Rachel Neylan, Australia, 10 seconds behind.
3. Elisa Longo Borghini, Italy, 18 seconds.
4. Amber Neben, United States, 33 seconds.
5. Anna van der Breggen, Netherlands, 55 seconds.
6. Rossella Ratto, Italy, 3 minutes, 40 seconds.
7. Linda Melanie Villumsen, New Zealand, 4:37.
8. Judith Arndt, Germany, same time.
9. Emma Johansson, Sweden, same time.
10. Paulina Brzezna-Bentkowska, Poland, same time.