Brilliant Bronzini snatches gold for Italy

Vos caught at the line as Cooke falls short

Giorgia Bronzini took victory for Italy in the women’s road race thanks to a thrilling sprint that saw her pip Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Emma Johansson (Sweden) at the line. It was a win fraught with emotion and one that Bronzini dedicated to her seriously injured teammate Marina Romoli and to the memory of former men’s national team manager Franco Ballerini.

Bronzini claimed the rainbow jersey after an escape by Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) and Judith Arndt (Germany) faltered in the final 500 metres. As they were caught, the Italian launched an aggressive sprint that saw her best Marianne Vos and Emma Johannson on the uphill surge to the line. It was yet another agonising near miss for Vos, who took her fourth consecutive silver medal in the event.

“I knew that there was only one possibility of beating Vos and that was to wait, wait, wait,” Bronzini said afterwards. “It was the most beautiful sprint of my life. The girls believed in me right to the end even though I suffered a lot on the climb, and I repaid them. We’re great group. We are the best.”

In the closing kilometres, Cooke and Arndt juggled an 11 second lead over a 30-strong chase group but as the duo entered the final uphill straight they realised that they couldn’t wait to launch their sprints against one another inside the final 200 metres. Instead Arndt laid her last card on the table and started sprinting a massive 500 metres from the finish line.

Cooke went immediately after but Johannson, Vos and Bronzini were closing in fast. After being passed Cooke found one last effort and looked to be closing in on the trio, but the race was already Bronzini’s and the race favourite was left to settle for fourth place ahead of Arndt.

The remnants of the peloton finished about five metres behind, where Grace Verbeke (Belgium) took sixth from Trixi Worrack (Germany).

“I asked my teammates to pull back [Cooke and Arndt], but they did not have so much power left,” Bronzini explained at the finish. “So I waited and hoped that someone would start a long sprint and so it turned out."

How it unfolded

The eight lap women's race started conservatively, with the first serious attack coming from American Katheryn Curi Mattis on lap four. Anne Samplonius (Canada) and Valentina Carretta (Italy) set off in pursuit, but were brought back within a lap. Meanwhile, Mattis was steadily opening a significant lead on the peloton, reaching nearly three minutes by the start of lap six.

However, the British and Dutch teams had decided that it was time to up the pace, and the lead began to shrink quickly, with Mattis caught on lap seven. The pace was also shredding the peloton, with only 41 riders left in the main group.

Time trial champion Emma Pooley attacked as Curi Mattis was being reeled in, splitting the field. Defending champion Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) started chasing Pooley, followed by Vos, Arndt and Johansson. The peloton gradually regrouped, but multiple attacks continued to string out the field.

As the race began the last lap, there were fewer than 30 riders remaining at the front, with most of the favourites still in contention. Italy had three riders, the Dutch two, Canada two, Great Britain four and the United States two. Vos lost her last team mate, Van Vleuten, at a critical moment, just as Nicole Cooke attacked.

Cooke was quickly joined by Arndt, and the pair gained ten seconds on a chase group of ten, including Pooley, Tara Whitten (Canada), Guderzo and Johansson. With three kilometres to go the duo were still dangling off the front as the chase group swelled to 20, as riders caught back on after the last climb.

Whitten's team mate Erinne Willock went to the front and drove the chase in the final kilometres, bringing the group back to within 30 metres of the leaders as they entered the final kilometre. Onto the finishing straight Arndt and Cooke were desperately trying to stay clear, but Vos jumped at 250 metres to go, followed by Johansson and Bronzini.

The trio went by Arndt and Cooke with less than 100 metres to the line, with Vos out in front until the final 40 metres, when Bronzini came through on her left to take the victory. Johansson looked to be squeezed into the barrier by Vos, and actually hit her head on a spectator's extended arm that was leaning out to take a photo. Officials reviewed the sprint repeatedly before deciding that Vos had not deviated
from her line but in any case, Bronzini’s superiority was never up for discussion.

“It’s a victory for all the girls on the Italian team,” Bronzini said. “And it’s also a victory for Franco Ballerini and our own Marina Romoli, who is battling to walk again.”


# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) 3:32:01  
2 Marianne Vos (Netherlands)    
3 Emma Johansson (Sweden)    
4 Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)    
5 Judith Arndt (Germany) 0:00:01  
6 Grace Verbeke (Belgium) 0:00:03  
7 Trixi Worrack (Germany)    
8 Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)    
9 Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain)    
10 Carla Swart (South Africa)    
11 Catherine Cheatley (New Zealand)    
12 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France)    
13 Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation)    
14 Andrea Graus (Austria)    
15 Tara Whitten (Canada)    
16 Sharon Laws (Great Britain)    
17 Amber Neben (United States Of America)    
18 Edwige Pitel (France)    
19 Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)    
20 Emma Pooley (Great Britain)    
21 Evelyn Stevens (United States Of America) 0:00:08  
22 Noemi Cantele (Italy)    
23 Erinne Willock (Canada) 0:00:21  
24 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) 0:00:32  
25 Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands) 0:01:42  
26 Ruth Corset (Australia)    
27 Regina Bruins (Netherlands)    
28 Vicki Whitelaw (Australia)    
29 Catherine Williamson (Great Britain)    
30 Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation)    
31 Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands)    
32 Noortje Tabak (Netherlands)    
33 Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania)    
34 Natalya Boyarskaya (Russian Federation) 0:01:47  
35 Elena Berlato (Italy) 0:02:02  
36 Luisa Tamanini (Italy)    
37 Grete Treier (Estonia) 0:07:38  
38 Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan) 0:07:40  
39 Oxana Kozonchuk (Russian Federation)    
40 Yulia Martisova (Russian Federation)    
41 Robyn De Groot (South Africa)    
42 Marissa Van Der Merwe (South Africa) 0:07:45  
43 Anne Samplonius (Canada) 0:07:48  
44 Polona Batagelj (Slovenia) 0:09:39  
45 Sara Mustonen (Sweden)    
46 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (France)    
47 Fröydis Waerstad (Norway)    
48 Sophie Creux (France)    
49 Liesbet De Vocht (Belgium)    
50 Veronica Leal Balderas (Mexico)    
51 Lieselot Decroix (Belgium)    
52 Marie Lindberg (Sweden) 0:11:36  
53 Lise Nöstvold (Norway)    
54 Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)    
55 Sofie De Vuyst (Belgium)    
56 Anriette Schoeman (South Africa)    
57 Martina Ruzickova (Czech Republic)    
58 Christine Majerus (Luxembourg) 0:11:52  
59 Emilie Aubry (Switzerland)    
60 Natalya Stefanskaya (Kazakhstan)    
61 Luise Keller (Germany) 0:11:54  
62 Serena Sheridan (New Zealand)    
63 Jennifer Hohl (Switzerland)    
64 Marcia Fernandes Silva (Brazil)    
65 Carmen Small (United States Of America)    
66 Alona Andruk (Ukraine)    
67 Valentina Carretta (Italy)    
68 Theresa Cliff-Ryan (United States Of America)    
69 Joelle Numainville (Canada)    
70 Toni Bradshaw (New Zealand)    
71 Nathalie Lamborelle (Luxembourg) 0:16:39  
72 Edita Janeliunaite (Lithuania)    
73 Inga Cilvinaite (Lithuania)    
74 Tatiana Panina (Belarus) 0:18:06  
75 Ariadna Tudel Cuberes (Andorra) 0:18:33  
76 Belen Lopez Morales (Spain) 0:19:35  
DNF Emilie Moberg (Norway)    
DNF Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States Of America)    
DNF Chantal Blaak (Netherlands)    
DNF Adrie Visser (Netherlands)    
DNF Ina Teutenberg (Germany)    
DNF Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)    
DNF Charlotte Becker (Germany)    
DNF Rossella Callovi (Italy)    
DNF Chanpeng Nontasin (Thailand)    
DNF Carla Ryan (Australia)    
DNF Amanda Miller (United States Of America)    
DNF Shelley Olds (United States Of America)    
DNF Tiffany Cromwell (Australia)    
DNF Elena Kuchinskaya (Russian Federation)    
DNF Eleonora Patuzzo (Italy)    
DNF Lucy Martin (Great Britain)    
DNF Katie Colclough (Great Britain)    
DNF Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Lithuania)    
DNF Shara Gillow (Australia)    
DNF Svitlana Galyuk (Ukraine)    
DNF Emma Crum (New Zealand)    
DNF Maja Marukic (Croatia)    
DNF Monrudee Chapookam (Thailand)    
DNF Ludivine Henrion (Belgium)    
DNF Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada)    
DNF Amanda Spratt (Australia)    
DNF Bridie O`Donnell (Australia)    
DNF Ana Belen Garcia Antequera (Spain)    
DNF Lesya Kalitovska (Ukraine)    
DNF Katazina Sosna (Lithuania)    
DNF Mariana Mohammad (Malaysia)    
DNF Kimberley Yap (Malaysia)    
DNF Cherise Taylor (South Africa)    
DNF Rosa Maria Bravo Soba (Spain)    
DNF Serene Lee (Singapore)    
DNF Noor Azian Alias (Malaysia)    
DNF Kathryn Bertine (Saint Kitts and Nevis)    
DNF Courteney Lowe (New Zealand)    
DNF Doris Schweizer (Switzerland)    
DNF Patricia Schwager (Switzerland)    
DNF Ana Teresa Casas (Mexico)    
DNF Valeria Teresita Muller (Argentina)    
DNF Dinah Chan (Singapore)    
DNF Sofia Arreola (Mexico)    
DNF Denise Ramsden (Canada)    
DNF Colleen Ang (Singapore)    
DNS Nina Ovcharenko (Ukraine)    

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