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Gallery: On the start line of the women's Olympic road race

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Ah Reum Nah (South Korea) and Emile Moberg (Norway) ahead of the London 2012 Olympics road race.

Ah Reum Nah (South Korea) and Emile Moberg (Norway) ahead of the London 2012 Olympics road race. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Ingrid Drexel (Mexico).

Ingrid Drexel (Mexico). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Ah Reum Nah (South Korea).

Ah Reum Nah (South Korea). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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The South African team before the start.

The South African team before the start. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Ina Yoko Teutenberg (Germany).

Ina Yoko Teutenberg (Germany). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Judith Arndt (Germany).

Judith Arndt (Germany). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Olena Andruk (Ukraine).

Olena Andruk (Ukraine). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Paola Munoz Grandon is Chile's lone competitor.

Paola Munoz Grandon is Chile's lone competitor. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Canada's trio wait for the start of the London 2012 Olympic road race.

Canada's trio wait for the start of the London 2012 Olympic road race. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Pauline Ferrand Prevot and the French team before the start.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot and the French team before the start. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Clara Hughes (Canada).

Clara Hughes (Canada). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Emile Moberg (Norway).

Emile Moberg (Norway). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Denise Ramsden (Canada).

Denise Ramsden (Canada). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)

Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Isabelle Soderberg, Emilia Fahlin and Emma Johansson line up for Sweden.

Isabelle Soderberg, Emilia Fahlin and Emma Johansson line up for Sweden. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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USA's quartet ahead of the London 2012 Olympic road race.

USA's quartet ahead of the London 2012 Olympic road race. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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The United States have brought a strong team.

The United States have brought a strong team. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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The United States team interviewed before the start.

The United States team interviewed before the start. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) carries most home hopes.

Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) carries most home hopes. (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Reigning champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain).

Reigning champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Linda Villumsen (New Zealand).

Linda Villumsen (New Zealand). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Emma Pooley (Great Britain).

Emma Pooley (Great Britain). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Kristin Armstrong (USA).

Kristin Armstrong (USA). (Image credit: Daniel Simms)

After yesterday’s tense affair in the men’s Olympic cycling road race it was the turn of the women to take centre stage on the Mall in central London. Competing over a shorter 140 kilometre course, with two ascents of Box Hill, a super competitive field lined up under thunderous skies at the start of the race.

Defending champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) was a dark horse to repeat her win from Beijing, while strong teams from the Netherlands, Sweden, USA, Canada, Italy and Australia also had plenty of options for either a break or a mass bunch sprint.