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.”

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)3:32:01 
2Marianne Vos (Netherlands)  
3Emma Johansson (Sweden)  
4Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)  
5Judith Arndt (Germany)0:00:01 
6Grace Verbeke (Belgium)0:00:03 
7Trixi Worrack (Germany)  
8Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)  
9Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain)  
10Carla Swart (South Africa)  
11Catherine Cheatley (New Zealand)  
12Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France)  
13Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation)  
14Andrea Graus (Austria)  
15Tara Whitten (Canada)  
16Sharon Laws (Great Britain)  
17Amber Neben (United States Of America)  
18Edwige Pitel (France)  
19Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)  
20Emma Pooley (Great Britain)  
21Evelyn Stevens (United States Of America)0:00:08 
22Noemi Cantele (Italy)  
23Erinne Willock (Canada)0:00:21 
24Tatiana Guderzo (Italy)0:00:32 
25Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands)0:01:42 
26Ruth Corset (Australia)  
27Regina Bruins (Netherlands)  
28Vicki Whitelaw (Australia)  
29Catherine Williamson (Great Britain)  
30Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation)  
31Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands)  
32Noortje Tabak (Netherlands)  
33Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania)  
34Natalya Boyarskaya (Russian Federation)0:01:47 
35Elena Berlato (Italy)0:02:02 
36Luisa Tamanini (Italy)  
37Grete Treier (Estonia)0:07:38 
38Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan)0:07:40 
39Oxana Kozonchuk (Russian Federation)  
40Yulia Martisova (Russian Federation)  
41Robyn De Groot (South Africa)  
42Marissa Van Der Merwe (South Africa)0:07:45 
43Anne Samplonius (Canada)0:07:48 
44Polona Batagelj (Slovenia)0:09:39 
45Sara Mustonen (Sweden)  
46Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (France)  
47Fröydis Waerstad (Norway)  
48Sophie Creux (France)  
49Liesbet De Vocht (Belgium)  
50Veronica Leal Balderas (Mexico)  
51Lieselot Decroix (Belgium)  
52Marie Lindberg (Sweden)0:11:36 
53Lise Nöstvold (Norway)  
54Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)  
55Sofie De Vuyst (Belgium)  
56Anriette Schoeman (South Africa)  
57Martina Ruzickova (Czech Republic)  
58Christine Majerus (Luxembourg)0:11:52 
59Emilie Aubry (Switzerland)  
60Natalya Stefanskaya (Kazakhstan)  
61Luise Keller (Germany)0:11:54 
62Serena Sheridan (New Zealand)  
63Jennifer Hohl (Switzerland)  
64Marcia Fernandes Silva (Brazil)  
65Carmen Small (United States Of America)  
66Alona Andruk (Ukraine)  
67Valentina Carretta (Italy)  
68Theresa Cliff-Ryan (United States Of America)  
69Joelle Numainville (Canada)  
70Toni Bradshaw (New Zealand)  
71Nathalie Lamborelle (Luxembourg)0:16:39 
72Edita Janeliunaite (Lithuania)  
73Inga Cilvinaite (Lithuania)  
74Tatiana Panina (Belarus)0:18:06 
75Ariadna Tudel Cuberes (Andorra)0:18:33 
76Belen Lopez Morales (Spain)0:19:35 
DNFEmilie Moberg (Norway)  
DNFKatheryn Curi Mattis (United States Of America)  
DNFChantal Blaak (Netherlands)  
DNFAdrie Visser (Netherlands)  
DNFIna Teutenberg (Germany)  
DNFKirsten Wild (Netherlands)  
DNFCharlotte Becker (Germany)  
DNFRossella Callovi (Italy)  
DNFChanpeng Nontasin (Thailand)  
DNFCarla Ryan (Australia)  
DNFAmanda Miller (United States Of America)  
DNFShelley Olds (United States Of America)  
DNFTiffany Cromwell (Australia)  
DNFElena Kuchinskaya (Russian Federation)  
DNFEleonora Patuzzo (Italy)  
DNFLucy Martin (Great Britain)  
DNFKatie Colclough (Great Britain)  
DNFModesta Vzesniauskaite (Lithuania)  
DNFShara Gillow (Australia)  
DNFSvitlana Galyuk (Ukraine)  
DNFEmma Crum (New Zealand)  
DNFMaja Marukic (Croatia)  
DNFMonrudee Chapookam (Thailand)  
DNFLudivine Henrion (Belgium)  
DNFKarol-Ann Canuel (Canada)  
DNFAmanda Spratt (Australia)  
DNFBridie O`Donnell (Australia)  
DNFAna Belen Garcia Antequera (Spain)  
DNFLesya Kalitovska (Ukraine)  
DNFKatazina Sosna (Lithuania)  
DNFMariana Mohammad (Malaysia)  
DNFKimberley Yap (Malaysia)  
DNFCherise Taylor (South Africa)  
DNFRosa Maria Bravo Soba (Spain)  
DNFSerene Lee (Singapore)  
DNFNoor Azian Alias (Malaysia)  
DNFKathryn Bertine (Saint Kitts and Nevis)  
DNFCourteney Lowe (New Zealand)  
DNFDoris Schweizer (Switzerland)  
DNFPatricia Schwager (Switzerland)  
DNFAna Teresa Casas (Mexico)  
DNFValeria Teresita Muller (Argentina)  
DNFDinah Chan (Singapore)  
DNFSofia Arreola (Mexico)  
DNFDenise Ramsden (Canada)  
DNFColleen Ang (Singapore)  
DNSNina Ovcharenko (Ukraine)  


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