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Defending champion looking for fourth rainbow jersey
Defending road world champion Marianne Vos took advantage of a break in the midst of a block of racing in Spain to inspect the world championships course in Ponferrada with her Rabobank liv team and three other Dutch teammates.
With a camera on her handlebars, Vos ensured that she will be familiar with the 127.4km course before road race on 27 September which she said will be challenging.
"After a couple of laps, it is possible to make the difference on the climbs but the final descent is interesting as well," said Vos of the seven-lap course.
Dutch female cycling is the most successful category in the history of World Championships with 26 medals of which nine are gold. Rabobank team manager Koos Moerenhout, who accompanied the riders during the recon, said this statistic meant that the Dutch cycling federation offers help to continue its success.
"Dutch women have always competed at a high level," Moerenhout said. "Just think about Leontien Van Moorsel and Marianne Vos. Stars like them are an inspiration for others. Furthermore we have some well-structured teams in the Netherlands.
"They work together with the Dutch Federation which takes the women category very seriously."
Vos won her first road title in 2006 and from 2007 until 2011 was the silver medallist in the women's road race. She won the 2012 title in Valkenburg and defended her rainbow jersey in Florence last September. Victory in Spain would make her equal second with Yvonne Reynders as the most successful woman at the world championships with four titles and one shy of Jeannie Longo.
Moerenhout believes it will be a tough day of racing that may produce a surprise winner.
"The course is not as hard as last year one in Florence but if riders make the race hard, the circuit will be felt in the legs,” Moerenhout said of the road course. "It can be a tough circuit giving options to different types of riders."
Moerenhout is keen to stop Specialized-lululemon from claiming a third straight team time trial world title and suggested that the inclusion of a climb in the finale will decide the winner; "It is a beautiful course, not too technical and where the final climb will make the difference."
Together with Marianne Vos, the following riders were also present in Ponferrada: Rabobank-Liv riders Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, Roxane Kneteman, Iris Slappendel, Thalita de Jong and Lucinda Brand; Ellen van Dijk (Boels Dolmans), Chantal Blaak (Specialized Lululemon) and Amy Pieters (Giant Shimano).