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UCI Road World Championships 2014: Women's Elite Road Race

Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the Women's road race at the 2014 UCI World Road Race Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

After the Junior Men's road race this morning, its time for the Elite Women's road race.  

The riders are gathered on the start line under a warn Spanish sun.

And they're off! The flag drops, with the Netherlands team of defending champion Marianne Vos on the front. Thanks to defending the title, the Netherlands has nine riders in the race.

Who is your favourite to win the women's rainbow jersey? 

You can see our top five prediction in this special video. Click here.

 

Marianne Vos (Netherlands is the natural favourite. She's been virtually unbeatable this season and seems hungry for yet another world title.

However she struggled in the team time trial event last Sunday and so may not be at her very best. We will find out very soon.

As the riders tackle the first climb of the circuit, the peloton is all together. However the speed is high.

On the wide road, riders are moving up on the outsides of the peloton.

The riders make it safely through the downhill corner where riders have crashed so frequently and begin the shorter but steeper climb. 

At the summit, the riders are all together and nobody tried an attack. The racing will surely explode later on. 

The race is expected to be a battle between Vos and her Dutch teammates, and the strong Italian team. 

Italian coach Edoardo Savoldi is confident.

 

"The Rabo-Liv incident that took out Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten has made me change my ideas for the race a bit. I think it will be quite like last year – Italy versus Vos." he said.  

Giorgia Bronzini is hoping to win a third world title.

 

"I don’t think it’s an easy course but the women’s race always seems to follow a different logic to the one that the public might expect. Obviously, for me, a calm, controlled race would be best, but as a team, I think we’re covered for a lot of situations."

The descent has lead to some minor splits in the peloton and lined out the riders but there is no real attack or breakaway. 

The descent has lead to some minor splits in the peloton and lined out the riders but there is no real attack or breakaway. 

The women have covered the first lap in 29 minutes. They face six more laps of the 18.2km circuit.

The women have covered the first lap in 29 minutes. They face six more laps of the 18.2km circuit.

Russia, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium all have riders on the front setting the brisk pace.

Crash!

A British riders goes down on a corner and needs a moment and some help from her team mechanic to get going again. 

Great Britain is riding for Lizzie Armistead this year.

She spoke of her chances here.

The British rider who crashed was Lucy Garner but she is now back in the peloton.

The riders have 96km left to race but the race is yet to come alive.

On the descent through the vines, the speed is very high and will only get faster as the races goes on.

Crash! A huge spill has caused numerous riders to go down at speed.

There are a lot of riders hurt and still sat in the road.

Two riders seemed to touch wheels near the front of the peloton and then other riders hit them and others went off the road sparking other crashes.

At least three Belgian riders were involved in the crash. Others are also injured.

Marianne Vos was also delayed by the crash and several teammates are helping her chase back up to the peloton. She is approximately 50 seconds back.

A Canadian rider is being carried to a ambulance.

Two riders from Canada were involved plus a rider from the USA.

The German and Great Britain teams are riding at the front of the peloton, which includes just 50 or so riders now. 

It seems that Italy's Giorgia Bronzini was also delayed by the crash.

Reports say the Canadian rider carried to an ambulance was Karol-Ann Canuel.

The peloton seems to have eased up, to allow the riders delayed to get back to the peloton.

Bronzini is back in the peloton but the crash could have affected her chances of success.

Other riders are still off the back or have retired.

Vos is also back in the peloton but two teammates are at the back of the peloton.

The riders are on the first gradual climb of the circuit and the race is back on and the speed is rising.

Evelyn Stevens and Megan Guarnier (USA) are the back of the pack.

Another crash! This time on the climb, with several riders involved. 

Australia's Katrin Garfoot seems to have a bike problem after her crash.

80km remaining from 127km

The pace is still steady in the peloton.

The German team is trying to set the pace, with French and Italian riders all close to the front.

After the Mirador climb, the riders head back to Ponferrada on the fast descent. They have already pass the point where the huge crash occured.

80km remaining from 127km

The riders completed the third lap in just over 30 minutes. They are close to half way, with three and half laps to go. 

66km remaining from 127km

Here we go! We have an attack as the road climbs gradually out of Ponferrada.

Spela Kern (Slovenia) has a 20-second lead. But she is solo.

Germany is leading the chase of Kern.

60km remaining from 127km

The riders are on the second climb of the circuit but the peloton is still riding steady.

Spela Kern (Slovenia) is pushing on alone and now has 30-second lead. Italy is leading the chase behind.

As the riders pass through the finish area with three laps to go, Kern leads by 16 seconds. There are 67 riders left in the peloton.

The pace has eased further and the lap average was 35.7km/h.

The peloton passes the castle on the centre of Ponferrada and gets a cheer from the growing crowd.

Kern is still clear on the gradual climb out of Ponferrada.

Crash! This time Elena Checchini (Italy) tangled with two other riders but is back up and chasing.

The big favourites are still holding back and awaiting the finale. The race will surely explode on the final two laps.  

Marianne Vos has moved up to near the front of the peloton. The speed is increasing too.

40km remaining from 127km

It's time for the fast descent again but peloton remains together, with the race under control.

Italy again leads the peloton through the final curves of the fast descent.

Riders are eating and drinking as the finish line approaches.

36km remaining from 127km

Two laps to go! 

The riders goes through the feed zone, with a few riders taking bottles.

We have an attack! Alison Powers (USA) is off the front and opening a gap.

Powers crashed on the downhill but fought her way back to the peloton.

Powers starts the climb with a 100m lead.

Powers faded on the climb as the peloton upped the pace but there have yet to be other attacks. 

A rain shower has soaked the roads, adding another factor into the race. Crashes could be an issue on the fast descent after the last climb.

The rain is pouring down on the riders now.

The riders are spread across the road. but the attacks finally start.

Sweden and the USA have riders on the front.

27km remaining from 127km

Australia goes on the attack.

The riders are on the first section of descent.

The fear of crashing has lined out the riders.

Rachel Neylan is the Australian rider on the attack. She has a 10-second lead as the Mirador climb begins.

The roads are not as wet on this side of the climb.

Everyone is waiting for the big attack behind.

Attack by Rosella Ratto (Italy). Sheis trying to shake up the peloton as they reach the top of the climb.

Neylan has a gap of just two seconds as the leaders begin the descent. Here the roads are dry but the peloton has split after Ratto's attack.  

Most of the big-name favourites are in the front group.

Vos leads the group down the descent. She wants this move to stay away or even split further.

Vos also seemed to be testing her rivals for the final lap.

As the bell rings for the last lap, three riders have a slight gap.

There are now five riders up front. Neylan is in there for Australia, Ratto for Italy.

Chantal Blaak is there for the Netherlands.

The five riders are about to be caught with the USA leading the chase. After a quiet race, the final lap is about to be explosive.

14km remaining from 127km

A slight ease in the pace as the riders comeback together. There are 30 riders left in the peloton. Team numbers will be vital when the attacks begin.

There are four Dutch and four German riders in the group.

We can also see several red and blue USA jerseys and the green and gold of Australia.

Vos is riding a waiting race but she will surely go on the attack on the final climb.

The riders are marking each other carefully but now we have a serious attack.  

The long straight road make it hard to stay away. 

Evelyn Stevens and Vos launched the attack but Italy kept them in check.

However the Steven attack did cause some riders to loose contact. A dozen riders are chasing.

Armitstead is near the front, Bronzini is also in the front group.

Attack by a German rider but Vos closes.

The flat section allows the front peloton to reform.

Van Dijk makes an attack to try to split the peloton.

The elastic is stretching.

Italy is chasing down the attacks to help Bronzini stay in the move for a possible sprint finish.

But the Netherlands team is trying to force a selection.

The first climb is over and the group is still together. Will it split on the second climb?

The riders are lined out as the Dutch team works for Vos.

6km remaining from 127km

It's time for the final attacks.

Haussler (Germany) makes a surge but there is no split.

Stevens attacks with Vos and Armitstead but the others are on their wheels.

The final climb has split the group.

We have four riders:Vos, Armitstead, Longo Borghini and Johansson.

Two others riders are chasing but Vos is driving the move clear with help from Johansson.

2km remaining from 127km

They hit the flat road and now have to work together so they can fight for the medals.

Longo Borghini makes an attack but Vos chases her down.

The four aren't working together and are caught by a group of ten rider. Olds is there for the USA, Bronzini for Italy.

Sprint finish!

Everyone kicked together but it seems Ferrand Prevot got it.

Vos was passed before the line.

Race judges needed the photo finish to decide the winner but confirm Ferrand Prevot is declared world champion.

Lisa Breannauer took the silver medal, with Emma Johannson taking bronze. Bronzini was a frustrated fourth after struggling to find a way through to the front to contest the sprint.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot broke down in tears when she heard she was the new world champion.

What a thrilling finale. The four-rider Vos group seemed set to stay away but the lack of collaboration allowed the other riders and the better sprinters to come back. Ferrand Prevot got on Vos' wheel and the sprinted past her to win the world title.

Ferrand Prevot smiles and sings as the French national anthem rings out across Ponferrada.

Thanks for joining us for our live coverage. We will have a full report, photo gallery, news and interviews on Cyclingnews.com very soon.

Join us tomorrow for blow by blow coverage of the Elite Men's race on Sunday. We'll have live coverage from all the race.

 

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