Amassing 27 race wins in 2011, it was no surprise that Nederland Bloeit's Marianne Vos won the title of Female Road Rider of the Year in Cyclingnews' annual reader poll.
Vos, 24, has dominated women's racing this year. Her wins include the Ronde van Drenthe, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, GP Elsy Jacobs and the Giro d'Italia Femminale, a well as the Dutch and World cyclo-cross titles. On the track, she also holds the Worlds scratch race title.
If there was a stumbling block, it was the UCI Road World Championships, where Vos was again left feeling disappointed, standing second on the podium for the fifth consecutive year after being pipped in the sprint in the elite women's road race by Italy's defending champion, Giorgia Bronzini. Given her dominance of the 2011, Vos was overwhelming favourite when it came to the race for the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen. Vos however, backed away from any talk that the pressure proved too much.
"It's the world championships. There's always a lot of pressure in that race. That's what you do it for, you race for the big races and it's great to do the world championships for your country," Vos said. "Of course when everybody in the team does the work for you, you want to end it perfectly. That's a bit of pressure. But it's also great to have and after this season, I was sort of used to it."
Showing her class, Vos praised the efforts of Bronzini - "Giorgia is a fantastic sprinter, she won in a great way. Of course you think back about whether you made a mistake in the sprint, but I didn't. She was the best."
One of 15 riders on the UCI's new athlete's commission, Vos' voice is key as the push for improvements to be made in women's cycling continues.
In 2012, Vos will lead the new Rabobank women's team which has taken over Nederland Bloeit.
Second place in the reader poll went to last year's winner Emma Pooley, who was runner-up to Vos in the Giro Donne. Pooley broke her collarbone early in the season but fought back for wins at the Thüringen-Rundfahrt der Frauen, GP Oberbaselbiet, Chur – Arosa as well as overall victory at the Tour de l'Ardèche
Next best in the poll, was Judith Arndt. The German veteran who capped a strong back end of the season with a gold-medal-performance in the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships.
2011 best female road rider results
1 Marianne Vos 6161 (28.5%)
2 Emma Pooley 3782 (17.5%)
3 Judith Arndt 2467 (11.4%)
4 Giorgia Bronzini 2105 (9.7%)
5 Clara Hughes 1768 (8.2%)
6 Emma Johansson 1667 (7.7%)
7 Elizabeth Armitstead 1462 (6.8%)
8 Amber Neben 1154 (5.3%)
9 Ina Teutenberg 835 (3.9%)
10 Annemiek van Vleuten 233 (1.1%)
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