Multiple world champion Marianne Vos, of the Netherlands, made the winning move Sunday in the women’s road race at the 2012 London Olympics Games, adding a road goal medal to her extensive palmares.
After following its pre-race stategy throughout the race, the Canadian team had to revise its plans with 14 kilometers to go when designated sprinter Joëlle Numainville crashed on roads made wetter and wetter by a torrential downpour which hit in the second half of the 140.3-km course.
“A girl lost control and I went down. It was very slippery and difficult with the rain. It’s a bummer but it’s part of racing. Nothing was broken on my bike but I lost at least one minute.” Numainville told sportcom.ca after the race.
The 2010 Canadian champion dug deep to make her way back to the main field along with an Australian rider but it cost her.
“It’s difficult to manage my efforts with the rain. It was intense for everyone but I was able to make it back to the group.” added a still very cold Numainville.
Vos escaped with three other riders with 46 km to go after the tow loop around Box Hill. With Vos were Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain), Shelley Olds (USA) and Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia). Olds flatted out of the break leaving the three to battle it out to the finish line where Vos took the sprint.
Both Numainville and teammate Denise Ramsden finished 27 seconds later in the main peloton in 12th and 27th respectively. The third member of the team Clara Hughes crossed the line five seconds later in 3nd place.
Hughes finished the race with a smile. Showing that she had good form, the team veteran is ready for the upcoming time trial.
“Today, we had to gamble because we were not the strongest team nor did we have the maximum number of girls. I was there when the break went and if I had gone, the Germans would have jumped on my wheel. I don’t know if I could have followed but I’m really happy with my form. I am one hundred percent ready for Wednesday.” stated Hughes.
The multiple Olympic medalist was very comfortable setting the pace at the front of the field as they climbed Box Hill.
“It’s my third time at the Olympic Games road race where it rains. I felt good at the front and I’m really happy with the way I was feeling.” continued Hughes who’s last participation at the Olympic road race was at the Sydney 2000 games.
Hughes quickly left the interview area to get warm and to start her recovery for the time trial.
Women’s Olympic Road Race – 140-kilometers
1. Marianne Vos (NED) 3:35:29
2. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBR) +0:00
3. Olga Zabelinskaya (RUS) +0:02
12. Joëlle Numainville (CAN) +0:27
27. Denise Ramdsen (CAN)
32. Clara Hughes (CAN) +0:32