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2012 Olympic Games 2012

Date range:
July 28 - August 12, 2012

July 29, Olympic Women's Road Race: London 140km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

The women will gather today on The Mall to take on this tricky course, but will climb Box Hill only two times. Will we see a mass sprint at the end?

  1. 13:02:17 CEST

    The Olympics continue and today it is time for the women to go for the Gold!

    The race has just started, under wet conditions.

  2. 13:03:16 CEST

    The women were lined up according to the bib numbers, with Great Britain leading the way.

  3. 13:04:26 CEST

    The rain is on and off, but roads are wet.

  4. 134km remaining from 140km

    13:09:15 CEST

    The first attack of the day comes from Janildes Fernandes Silva (Brazil), on the approach to Stamford Bridge in West London, but so far there has been no reaction from the peloton.

  5. 13:12:28 CEST

    Fernandes Silva is one of three Brazilians in the field today, and before the start she said that competing alongside her sister Clemilda was "a dream come true." She has a lead of just over 10 seconds but the peloton has shown no real interest in closing her down just yet.

  6. 13:14:23 CEST

    At the start, Clara Hughes said Canada is "ready to roll" She expects and unpredictable race, but is looking forward to the "tunnel of energy" provided by the crowds along the route.

  7. 13:15:44 CEST

    Emma Pooley is behind the race jury car, waiting for the team car to take care of her puncture. Meanwhile she is waving to friendly hometown crowds.

  8. 13:17:34 CEST

    Specialized has given its riders bright neon red bikes and helmets. Evie Stevens and Amber Neben of the USA are using them, and are very easy to spot in the pack.

  9. 13:19:18 CEST

    The course will look familiar, as it is the same as yesterday's men's course. But they will ride the circuit course with Box Hill only twice, and the race is only 140km long.

  10. 13:20:52 CEST

    67 riders were qualified for the race, but only 66 took to the start. This is because Rasa Leleivyte of Lithuania tested positive for EPO earlier, and under Olympic rules, such a rider may not be replaced. (Which is why Fränk Schleck could not be replaced in yesterday's race.)
     

  11. 13:21:15 CEST

    Australia's Amanda Spratt is the next to puncture.

  12. 128km remaining from 140km

    13:23:16 CEST

    Fernandes Silva has a 15 second lead on the field.

  13. 13:26:05 CEST

    Who is going to win today, we all ask ourselves.  Here is the Cyclingnews preview of the top five picks for today.

  14. 13:28:14 CEST

    The men may have had perfect weather yesterday, but the women certainly don't have that luck. The roads are very wet, and the turns dangerous. Everyone is being very careful at the moment.

  15. 13:28:31 CEST

    Fernandes Silva is caught now by the field.

  16. 13:31:17 CEST

    They have been underway 30 minutes now. There is much looking around, as if to say, "Who will be the next to attack?"

  17. 13:33:07 CEST

    All four American women are at the front of the peloton now. Lotte Becker of Germany is moving up to join them.

  18. 13:34:10 CEST

    Germany's Judith Arndt is at the back of the field.

  19. 13:36:35 CEST

    Netherlands has moved up to the front as well.

  20. 13:38:09 CEST

    Kristin Amstrong of the US has number 13.  She has turned it upside down, which is supposed to take the bad luck away.

  21. 13:39:33 CEST

    It is, by the way, pouring down rain again. Absolute sheets of water coming down.

    Elllen Van Dijk of the Netherlands is now setting the pace.

  22. 13:40:42 CEST

    A crash, with Grete Treier of Estonia and Mei Yu Hasiao of Taiwan.  But both are up and going again.

  23. 13:41:31 CEST

    Sorry, Taipei, not Taiwan.

  24. 13:42:08 CEST

    The peloton passes a lovely pefectly round lake with a fountain in the middle.  There is no lack of wetness today.

  25. 13:43:06 CEST

    The German and Dutch women are continuing to set the pace here, a fairly high pace, too.

  26. 114km remaining from 140km

    13:46:18 CEST

    Only 114km still to go. We wonder if the group will just stay together the whole way.

  27. 13:47:39 CEST

    French champion, 20-year-old Pauline Ferrrand Prevot, moves back up to the peloton.

  28. 13:49:13 CEST

    There are five nations with four-rider teams: Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany,  USA and Italy. Then there are 8 nations with three-rider teams: Australia, Sweden, Russia, Canada, Belgium, France, Brazil and South Africa.

  29. 13:50:50 CEST

    There is "pounding rain" at the finish line, Laura Weislo tells us. "Simply torrential."

  30. 13:52:07 CEST

    There are significantly fewer fans along the way today. Part of it is due to the weather, but we think that unfortunately it is also partially due to the lack of popularity of women's cycling.

  31. 13:53:58 CEST

    Defending champion Nicole Cooke is near the front of things.

  32. 13:54:47 CEST

    CN's Laura is at the finish line, dripping and shivering. She says the temperatures have dropped.

  33. 13:55:17 CEST

    Oh, and there is thunder, too. Let's just hope we escape the really nasty things like hail and lightning.

  34. 13:57:23 CEST

    The remainder of the riders are forming one-woman teams. They represent: New Zealand, Cuba, Venezuela, Ukraine, Belarus, China, El Salvador, Denmark, Luxembourg, South Korea, Mexico, Estonia, Thailand, Taipei, Poland, Azerbaijan, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Slovenia, Maruitius and Chile.

  35. 13:58:33 CEST

    Van Dijk has jumped from the field.

  36. 13:59:10 CEST

    That certainly woke everyone up, and the pace has picked up again.

  37. 14:01:06 CEST

    Four riders have now gone off in pursuit of Van Dijk.

  38. 14:02:07 CEST

    We now hear that may have been Van Vleuten. But the peloton has gathered everyone in now, anyway.

  39. 14:04:16 CEST

    A number of riders dropping back, apparently with punctures:  Cantele and a German, we think Teutenberg.

  40. 102km remaining from 140km

    14:05:28 CEST

    102km to go, and all together again.

  41. 14:06:11 CEST

    Arndt and Teutenberg are now back in the peloton.

  42. 14:08:34 CEST

    Teutenberg, a sprinter, is not particularly looking forward to the climb. "It's not so easy on Box Hill for the sprinters because there are not many riders. You can't get too far back or else there may be no wheels to follow."

  43. 14:09:07 CEST

    100km to go, and we now see all the fans we missed earlier. And the sun has come out!

  44. 14:10:15 CEST

    Noemi Cantele of Italy has punctured again.

  45. 14:11:05 CEST

    At any rate she has had some sort of mechanical issue, and is on her way back to the group again.

  46. 14:14:40 CEST

    Four years ago we were in Beijing, and the podium there was Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) ahead of  Emma Johanssen (Sweden) and Tatiana Guderzo (Italy).  All three are here today.

  47. 14:15:32 CEST

    The sun has again disappeared. We actually now see huge amounts of water on the road.

    An Australian rider has taken off, but then is caught again, just like that.

  48. 14:16:28 CEST

    Bronzini is having a mechanical issue and is standing by the side of the road getting help.

    At the other end of the field, Kristin Armstrong of the USA has attacked.

  49. 14:17:09 CEST

    But she too is not allowed to get away. Rider after rider is trying to make the decisive move -- and no one is succeeding.

  50. 14:19:15 CEST

    Bronzini is tight behind the team car, trying to work her way back up.

    Stevens of the USA is the next to go, but she is joined by a handful of others.

    Meanwhile, the Korean rider has crashed on a wet, sharp turn.

  51. 14:19:52 CEST

    The would-be attackers were quickly caught again.

  52. 14:20:54 CEST

    Bronzini is still working her way back up to the field, using up a lot of energy she might otherwise need for a sprint finish.

  53. 14:21:39 CEST

    Bronizini now has a teammate with her and they have just caught the tail end of the field.

  54. 14:22:29 CEST

    They are approaching Box HIll for the first time.

  55. 139.09km remaining from 140km

    14:24:01 CEST

    Arndt is still at the back of the field, which seems to be her usual place, while her German teammate Trixi Worrack is at the front.

  56. 14:25:00 CEST

    A big crash at the back of the field. five or six, with one going into the ditch. It looks like everyone is ok, though.

    And of course that shouled have been 91 km still to go....

  57. 90km remaining from 140km

    14:27:06 CEST

    Involved in the crash were: the early attacker Janildes, Denielys Garcia (VEN), Korea's Na Ahreum, Thailand's Juthatip Maneephan, and Wan Yiu Jamie Wong of Hong Kong.

  58. 14:28:56 CEST

    Evelyn Stevens of the USA is looking forward to an exciting race today. She doesn't know how the race is going to be or who will win, but she and the team are ready for all possiblities.

  59. 14:29:33 CEST

    Van Dijk takes off again, followed by Cantele and Pooley. No way the peloton will let that trio go....

  60. 14:30:19 CEST

    Gunnewijk is the next to go.  The Dutch really really want Vos to win today.

  61. 14:31:14 CEST

    The pace has really picked up and an Australian rider leads the field past the Dutchwoman.

  62. 14:31:50 CEST

    Three Americans in the first four at the head of the field.

  63. 14:32:51 CEST

    Stevens leads the way up the climb, as the field stretches out.

  64. 14:34:45 CEST

    Ashleigh Moolman of South Africa is right up at the front with the leaders on the climb.

    There is a split in the field, as a handful of riders crashed.

  65. 84km remaining from 140km

    14:36:02 CEST

    Still no successful attacks. Perhaps on the descent?

  66. 14:38:18 CEST

    Germany has moved up to the front of the chase group.  That's what happens when Arndt hangs around at the end of the field...

    And another rider hits the road on a wet turn.

  67. 14:39:34 CEST

    Vos attacks! Shelly Olds of the USA goes with her.

  68. 14:40:06 CEST

    They are caught but there is now a small group of maybe 20, as another Dutch rider jumps.

  69. 14:40:51 CEST

    The gap between this lead group and the followers is large enough for autos to have come in between.

  70. 14:41:40 CEST

    And another Dutch rider goes! It is Van Dijk again.

  71. 79km remaining from 140km

    14:44:12 CEST

    Van Dijk has a tidy little gap, but has just been joined by a French rider, Audrey Cordon.

  72. 14:45:37 CEST

    The chasing group has gotten larger, it looks like most of the dropped riders have caught up again.

  73. 14:46:26 CEST

    It is still raining and there are still large puddles on the road. The two leaders now have only a few seconds on the peloton.

  74. 14:48:57 CEST

    The two leaders are now caught and we await our next attack.

  75. 75km remaining from 140km

    14:49:39 CEST

    We had expected an almost immediate counter-attack, but aren't getting it.

  76. 14:51:36 CEST

    The Germans are looking for gold here, and think they have everything covered. One for the sprint, two as jokers and the fourth to “provide the right tempo.”
     

  77. 14:52:56 CEST

    Armstrong is just hanging on to the back of the field as they climb.

  78. 14:54:14 CEST

    Pooley setting a very high pace here.

  79. 14:54:48 CEST

    The field enters the town of Dorking.

  80. 14:57:40 CEST

    Belgium is at the front and the field is strung out single file, tearing along as they approach Box HIll. Everyone is fightin for position.

  81. 15:00:24 CEST

    Germany, Netherlands and Italy leading the way over the narrow roads on the approach to the climb.

  82. 15:02:59 CEST

    Hughes leads the way, with Pooley on her wheel. Stevens is up there, too.  They don't appear to actually be on the Box Hill climb, though.

  83. 15:04:07 CEST

    We have a group of about 30 in the front. Van Dijk and Johannson are in there.

  84. 15:05:06 CEST

    Gillow is further back for Australia, and all of the Americans are moving up. Spratt and Martin have been dropped.

  85. 15:06:01 CEST

    Also up front is Pia Sundstedt (FIN).  Van Dijk is pushing the pace again, marked by Neben (we think).

  86. 15:06:54 CEST

    Not Neben, but Stevens.

  87. 15:07:30 CEST

    And it is feed zone time.  Surprising how they can take that on at this high speed.

    Coming out of that area, Arndt attacks.

  88. 15:08:02 CEST

    Vos goes with her. Now talk about a high-powered duo!

  89. 15:08:54 CEST

    Those two are caught, but the attacks continue.

  90. 63km remaining from 140km

    15:09:28 CEST

    The road is still quite wet. Another attack, this time by Pooley.

  91. 15:10:32 CEST

    The British woman got herself a nice little gap, but the chase behind her is furious.

  92. 15:11:08 CEST

    A Dutch rider down on on a sharp curve, near the front of the field.

  93. 15:11:30 CEST

    It was Gunnewijk. Meanwhile another duo is in the lead.

  94. 15:11:53 CEST

    This looks like Pooley and Evelyn Stevens, with Vos moving up to join them.

  95. 15:12:35 CEST

    It may be Amber Neben instead of Stevens. We aren't getting much official help with identification. But they are caught anway.

  96. 15:13:08 CEST

    More attacks.  Pooley again!

  97. 15:14:24 CEST

    Pooley really putting the hammer down here, But Vos takes control of things and leaps into the lead.

  98. 15:16:45 CEST

    It looks as if Cooke has been dropped.

  99. 15:17:50 CEST

    The sun is out again aas Vos leads a group of 30 or so. Cooke and a Russian pedaling furiously to try and catch the group.

  100. 56km remaining from 140km

    15:18:16 CEST

    About 14 seconds back to Cooke.

  101. 15:19:18 CEST

    And the two have now caught the group. Cooke moves right on up towards the front.

  102. 15:21:56 CEST

    All the big names are still in this group.

  103. 15:23:07 CEST

    A German now at the front, perhaps Arndt.

  104. 15:23:55 CEST

    Another crash. Armstrong, Stevens, Sundstedt have gone down on another corner.

  105. 15:24:29 CEST

    And the Netherlands goes again. Who else but Van Dijk.

  106. 15:25:33 CEST

    A tidy little gap for Van Dijk. She is really knocking herself out today.

  107. 15:25:55 CEST

    But once again it is Pooley who leads the chase and catches her.

  108. 15:27:03 CEST

    They are climbing again. These are narrow roads, with very sharp turns, and with all the overhanging trees, the road is still wet.

  109. 15:28:29 CEST

    Neben is driving the race here. Since there are no  race radios, she didn't know that two of her teammates had been dropped in the crash. Stevens was back fairly quickly, but Armstrong has only just now rejoined the group.

  110. 15:28:51 CEST

    Vos goes on the climb, attacking on the steepest part of the second climb up Box Hill.

  111. 51km remaining from 140km

    15:30:12 CEST

    LIzzie Armitstead has gone with Vos.

  112. 15:31:03 CEST

    They hit the feed zone again and the attack is over.

  113. 15:32:38 CEST

    Dan Benson talked to Evelyn Stevens this morning.  She said, "I’m so excited. It’s just an incredible opportunity and I’m ready to race. I’ve never raced  a Games before and everyone says they’re different, the field is smaller, but it’s a beautiful course but it all depends on how the women race it.

    From what I learnt from watching the men’s race, it’s going to be hard to control. I think every woman out there wants it to be show."

  114. 15:34:55 CEST

    The next attack, possibly a Russian rider?

  115. 15:35:15 CEST

    Canadian Clara Hughes leads the chase.

  116. 15:36:32 CEST

    The Russian is Olga Zabelinskaya.

  117. 44km remaining from 140km

    15:37:24 CEST

    She is a time trial expert, and with 44km to go, might have a chance of staying away.

  118. 15:40:00 CEST

    Pooley and Neben have jumped from the field in chase. This is getting to be too much for Vos, who also jumps out. She quickly catches those two and tries to dump them.

  119. 15:41:31 CEST

    Armitstead, Olds, Vos and Zabelinska now together in the lead.

    They leave the Box HIll circuit and are now heading back to London.

  120. 15:44:28 CEST

    Germany is one of many countries who missed out on this group and is chasing hard, but this group has the potential to stay away.

  121. 38km remaining from 140km

    15:45:17 CEST

    38km to go, and Germany and Italy are leading the chase. The gap is only 14 seconds.

  122. 15:45:49 CEST

    Vos leads the break. She is willing to do almost anything to win here today.

  123. 15:46:55 CEST

    18 seconds for the gap now. The field is working extremely hard to stay in touch.

  124. 36km remaining from 140km

    15:47:54 CEST

    The gap has crept up to 23 seconds, and the rain has unfortunately started again.

  125. 15:48:41 CEST

    zabelinskaya is Russian TT champion. She won  Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen in 2010.

  126. 15:49:05 CEST

    It is raining on the riders, but dry at the finish.

    Arndt and Johansson leading the furious chase.

  127. 15:50:51 CEST

    Arndt is putting up a strong pace, she too wants a medal today.

  128. 33km remaining from 140km

    15:52:20 CEST

    33km and 18 seconds, with two Italians now leading the chase.

  129. 15:54:15 CEST

    Very hard, driving rain at the moment. The gap has dropped but Vos is still going like crazy.

  130. 30km remaining from 140km

    15:55:25 CEST

    The gap has not gone down but up! It hit 30 seconds and is now at 27.

  131. 15:56:31 CEST

    The rain seems to have let up slightly. The gaps ping-pongs between 20 and 30 seconds.

  132. 15:56:50 CEST

    Becker and Arndt at the head of the chasing field.

  133. 15:57:14 CEST

    Olds has been dropped from the lead group.

  134. 15:57:54 CEST

    Olds in fact has been passed through the peloton and is struggling to hang on there.

  135. 15:58:38 CEST

    A mechanical for Johansson, which probably puts an end to her medal dreams.

  136. 15:59:25 CEST

    The peloton hits London, all strung out in single file as they fly along.

  137. 16:00:33 CEST

    Teutenberg has moved up near the front, with the Italians lending a hand.

    Vos is doing her best to drop her two companions.

  138. 26km remaining from 140km

    16:01:04 CEST

    26km and 30 seconds.

  139. 25km remaining from 140km

    16:02:34 CEST

    It is raining again, with 25km to go.

  140. 16:04:28 CEST

    The peloton crosses the Thames.

  141. 16:05:05 CEST

    The gap is still creeping up, now at 35 seconds.

  142. 16:06:34 CEST

    And it is still raining.

  143. 16:07:29 CEST

    Big crows here again, as the leaders are in Kingston upon Thames.

  144. 20km remaining from 140km

    16:09:16 CEST

    20 km and 30 seconds. Will Vos try to attack out of this group or does she feel she could win the sprint of the trio?

  145. 18km remaining from 140km

    16:11:46 CEST

    There were reports that the gap had jumped to 50 seconds, but we now seen it at 40 seconds, with 18km to go.

  146. 16:12:50 CEST

    In case we haven't mentioned it lately, it is still really pouring down rain.

  147. 16:14:56 CEST

    Vos leads the group of three. Now she falls back, as all three are taking their turn. We doubt the other two will work with much longer, though.

  148. 16:15:14 CEST

    Armstrong at the rear of the peloton.

  149. 16:16:47 CEST

    All three leaders take a quick peek backwards to see whehre the others are. They successfully negotiate the corner where Fabian Cancellara yesterday came to grief.

  150. 16:17:26 CEST

    Several riders in the field have problems at the corner but no one crashes.

  151. 16:18:05 CEST

    The three leaders aren't working as well together, but they have a reasonably good gap at this point.

  152. 12km remaining from 140km

    16:19:23 CEST

    Still 23km to go on these soaking wet roads.

  153. 16:20:22 CEST

    45 seconds now.

  154. 16:23:10 CEST

    The chasers are riding furiously but we think that at this point even they know their efforts are in vain.

  155. 16:24:34 CEST

    Pia Sundstedt of Finland takes off out of the field.

  156. 8km remaining from 140km

    16:25:41 CEST

    8km and 44 seconds. Another Russian crashes in the field.

  157. 16:26:51 CEST

    Vos glares at the passing moto.

  158. 16:28:57 CEST

    Under six km to go.

    Now a Belgian rider, Lisbet De Vocht, has set out in chase of the leading trio.

  159. 16:29:19 CEST

    Vos has still not yet made a move. Perhaps she is counting on her strong sprint.

  160. 16:29:58 CEST

    The three are still taking turns in the lead work.

  161. 16:30:36 CEST

    The peloton has seen the light, so to speak, and realize they won't catch these three.

  162. 16:30:55 CEST

    That is not stopping various riders from trying to jump, though.

  163. 16:31:19 CEST

    3.5km and the three leader are still calmly riding along.

  164. 16:33:24 CEST

    Vos starts glancing around.

  165. 16:34:25 CEST

    Vos takes a short spell in the lead, and as she drops back with 1.6km, Zabelinskaya takes off. Or at least tries to.

  166. 16:35:04 CEST

    Armitstead has been on third wheel for a long time now, saving up strength for the sprint.

    Last km!

  167. 16:35:51 CEST

    They take the final curve -- the sprint may start!

  168. 16:36:15 CEST

    Vos takes off at 150m, and holds on for the win!

  169. 16:37:24 CEST

    Armitstead came close but was unable to catch the Dutchwoman. Zabelinskaya was third a few seconds back.

  170. 16:38:05 CEST

    Congratulations to Vos, who seems to have now broken her streak of second place finishes!

  171. 16:38:42 CEST

    Vos wipes a mixture of rain and tears from her face.

  172. 16:40:23 CEST

    Teutenberg led the peloton across the finish line 27 seconds after Vos.

  173. 16:42:44 CEST

    This is of course Vos' second Olympic gold medal, although her first on the road. She won gold for the points race on the track in Beijing in 2008.

  174. 16:44:56 CEST

    Yesterday's winner of the men's race Alexander Vinokourov may have been a surprise, but today's winner certainly was not.

  175. 16:50:41 CEST

    Here the top ten from today:

    1 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 3:35:29
    2 Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain) 3:35:29
    3 Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) 3:35:31
    4 Ina Teutenberg (Germany) 3:35:56
    5 Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) 3:35:56
    6 Emma Johansson (Sweden) 3:35:56
    7 Shelley Olds (United States of America) 3:35:56
    8 Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) 3:35:56
    9 Liesbet De Vocht (Belgium) 3:35:56
    10 Aude Biannic (France) 3:35:56

  176. 16:52:15 CEST

    Congratulations once again to our three medal winners.

    Thanks for reading along and be sure to join us again on Wednesday for the Olympic time trials.