International Cycling Union (UCI) world leader, Marianne Vos (Netherland Bloeit) recently captured three stage wins and the overall title at the Iurreta Emakumeen Bira held in Bilbao, Spain. The dominant all-rounder has now turned her attention to future events including this year's Giro Donne and UCI Road World Championships, and more importantly, the 2012 London Olympic Games.
"I want to win a gold medal at the Olympics next year," Vos told Cyclingnews. "I was at the Olympics in Beijing and for a sport, the Olympics and to win a gold medal, it is the biggest thing you can do. I have a gold medal on the track because I won the points race in Beijing. It is only once in four years. I will try to be on my best for the road race. That is the big goal."
Vos won the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships and the UCI Scratch Race World Championships this winter before securing a series of road victories this spring. She won the Ronde Van Drenthe, La Fleche Wallone Feminine and Grand Prix Elsy Jacobs.
She entered the Iurreta Emakumeen Bira having one nine consecutive races, and added a tenth and an eleventh victory to her winning streak during the first two stages. She went on to place second in the stage 3A time trial to UCI World Champion Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo), second in stage 3B and won the fourth and final stage, along with the overall title.
"I don't even know what to say, it is just amazing," Vos said. "I can't believe it myself. Everyone is saying, "wow it is your tenth straight win, I can't say congrats anymore because it's ten times already". I had a good winter and good preparation for this season but you never know if it is going to end up like this. I hope that I can stay on this form for a while, but that is difficult."
Vos is targeting the Giro d'Italia Femminile held from July 1-10 in Italy. Last year, Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad) won the first four consecutive stages, however, Vos broke that streak when she won stage five and six. She also wore the pink leader's jersey for two stages.
"Last year I was not close to the overall podium and this year I am hoping to be closer to the podium," Vos said. "I have been getting better on the climbs. Last year I got dropped all the time in the higher mountains. This year, my target is to see how I can do in the longer climbs."
"Of course, it is also a goal to get stage wins and that is still a priority," she said. "But, last year I wore the pink jersey for two days and it was an amazing feeling. Italy is so great to race in, it is a lovely country. I hope that in the future I can ride for the general classification, but this year might be too early."
Vos is hoping to win a second UCI Road World Championship in September in Copenhagen, Denmark. She last won a road title in 2006 in Salzburg, Austria. She has also won Elite world titles in the disciplines of cyclo-cross and points and scratch race on the track.
"I am preparing for a world title," Vos said. "I tested the course two weeks ago, with my national coach. It is not really flat and the last 500 metres is a pretty hard climb for a sprinter. The course is not really hard and it will probably still be a sprint but a sprint uphill is different than a flat sprint."