Anna van der Breggen solos to world championship title

Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) soloed to victory in the elite women’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck. The Olympic champion went on the attack with 40km to go, bridging up to the break before going it alone after dropping Amanda Spratt (Australia).

Spratt, who was leading a dangerous breakaway before the Dutch rider sprung into action, was chasing over three minutes behind Van der Breggen for silver, with the experienced Italian Tatiana Guderzo, who attacked from small group, also solo and chasing third.

Coryn Rivera (USA) kicked off the action as the riders reached the circuit and the climb of Igls for the first time. Her surprise attack saw a strong group including Spratt and Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) join her with 50km to race.

But back in the peloton, Van der Breggen countered an attack by teammate Annemiek van Vleuten, quickly bridging up to the leaders. Midway up the penultimate climb of the day, it was over, with the Dutchwoman and Spratt locked in a solo time trial while groups converged behind to fight for the final medal.

The win was characteristic of Van der Breggen’s one-day dominance in 2018, a fantastic season which has seen her win Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne. All solo wins, of course, ranging from 50 metres to 27km on her own.

"I didn't know anything," Van der Breggen said after the finish. "I kept going and I think at the finish line I only believed it was possible, so yeah it's amazing. I had too many times this season that iI was caught at the finish, so I just kept on continuing and tried to eat and drink good and go as fast as possible.

"I was a bit doubting if it was too early or not but we tried to open things and then I got in this position so I took this opportunity and I had to go. I was actually [surprised to see the gap keep growing] so for me, it was a good thing and I had to keep going.

"The World Championships are always [a goal] and I know its so difficult to win it, so I'm really happy with this title."

How it happened

Running 156km from Kufstein to Innsbruck, the women's road race followed the exact same route as the men's race, taking in the same first four climbs before ending on the Innsbruck circuit. After the lumpy opening kilometres, a period of flat gave way to Gnadenwald, the hill which marked the start of the climbing.

After 63.9km, Gnadenwald – 2.8km at 10.1% – was the first test of the day, followed by a descent onto the Innsbruck circuit. Three laps of that 23.8km circuit would follow, with each one featuring the 7.9km Igls climb, which averaged 5.7% with some 10% sections. A fast, sweeping descent followed, with the top of the day's final climb coming 13.5km from the finish.

At the start of the race, the attacks flew, with Lotta Lepistö (Finland) among those having a go in the opening kilometres. It wasn't until Aurela Nerlo (Poland) went away after 15km that the break of the day was established, though. She was soon joined by Ana Sanabria (Colombia), with the peloton happy to let their pair build a lead.

With 120km left to run, including all the climbs, the lead duo enjoyed a two-minute lead. Back in the peloton, Lepistö went again, with Emma Jorgensen (Denmark) joining her in the counter-attack.

At the base of the Gnadenwald climb, the Dutch pair of Ellen van Dijk and Annemiek van Vleuten were among those caught up in a crash, quickly making their way back to the peloton. Up front, the leaders were 2:30 up, but that advantage would quickly evaporate.

The climb thinned things out, with only Nerlo and Lepistö left up front, and by the time they descended onto the circuit, it was over. Van Dijk, Cecilie Uttrup-Ludwig (Denmark) and Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) launched a move which Lepistö latched onto – they had a 30-second lead as the crossed the line for the first time.

Lepistö dropped back on the first climb of Igls while Lucy Kennedy (Australia) worked at the head of the peloton, whittling the group down to around 20 riders. By the top, with 60km to run, the lead group and the 'peloton' were back together.

Coryn Rivera (USA) was a surprise attacker over the top, swiftly building a 30-second lead. Heading into the final 50km she was joined out front by Van Dijk, Elena Pirrone (Italy), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Amanda Spratt (Australia) and Malgorzata Jasinska (Poland), though Van Dijk didn't stay there for long.

Further back, the Dutch were active, knowing that Spratt was a danger. Van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen attacked and countered, with Van der Breggen powering away with 42km to go and quickly reaching the break.

The Dutchwoman kept going, taking Spratt with her, but was soon alone, pulling out a gap over the top of the climb and extending her advantage as the kilometres ticked by. Heading into the final lap of the race, Van der Breggen was 1:19 up on Spratt and 3:06 on the chase group of Fahlin, Jasinska and Rivera.

That chase group swelled to six as Guderzo, Amy Pieters (Netherlands) and Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada) bridged across. They wouldn't spend much time together though, with Guderzo pushing on alone in search of bronze with 15km to race.

The first three women on the road – Van der Breggen, Spratt and Guderzo – were separated by five minutes heading into the closing kilometres, their medals all but assured. Barring crashes or mechanical problems, the trio could savour the run-in to the finish.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands)4:11:04
2Amanda Spratt (Australia)0:03:42
3Tatiana Guderzo (Italy)0:05:26
4Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)0:06:13
5Malgorzata Jasinska (Poland)
6Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada)0:06:17
7Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands)0:07:05
8Amy Pieters (Netherlands)
9Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)0:07:17
10Ruth Winder (United States Of America)
11Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)
12Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland)
13Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
14Sara Poidevin (Canada)
15Anastasiia Iakovenko (Russian Federation)
16Megan Guarnier (United States Of America)
17Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa)
18Clara Koppenburg (Germany)
19Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spain)
20Erica Magnaldi (Italy)
21Katharine Hall (United States Of America)
22Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)
23Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark)0:07:22
24Lucy Kennedy (Australia)0:07:31
25Leah Kirchmann (Canada)0:08:18
26Danielle Rowe (Great Britain)
27Arlenis Sierra (Cuba)
28Sofie De Vuyst (Belgium)
29Stine Borgli (Norway)
30Polona Batagelj (Slovenia)
31Coryn Rivera (United States Of America)
32Hanna Nilsson (Sweden)
33Urska Pintar (Slovenia)
34Eider Merino Cortazar (Spain)
35Shara Gillow (Australia)
36Sina Frei (Switzerland)
37Annika Langvad (Denmark)
38Edwige Pitel (France)
39Yevgeniya Vysotska (Ukraine)
40Julie van De Velde (Belgium)
41Sophie Wright (Great Britain)0:08:36
42Kelly van Den Steen (Belgium)0:09:00
43Ingrid Lorvik (Norway)
44Chantal Blaak (Netherlands)
45Hannah Barnes (Great Britain)0:10:58
46Liane Lippert (Germany)
47Georgia Williams (New Zealand)0:11:01
48Grace Brown (Australia)
49Omer Shapira (Israel)0:11:14
50Githa Michiels (Belgium)0:12:32
51Alison Jackson (Canada)0:12:48
52Blanca Liliana Moreno Canchon (Colombia)0:13:01
53Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spain)
54Brodie Chapman (Australia)
55Maria Novolodskaya (Russian Federation)0:13:10
56Olga Shekel (Ukraine)0:13:46
57Lorena Llamas Garcia (Spain)0:14:05
58Elena Pirrone (Italy)
59Angelika Tazreiter (Austria)0:14:26
60Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands)0:14:29
61Juliette Labous (France)
62Fernanda Yapura (Argentina)
63Sofia Bertizzolo (Italy)
64Danielle Christmas (Great Britain)0:14:51
65Špela Kern (Slovenia)
66Grace Anderson (New Zealand)
67Urška Žigart (Slovenia)0:14:55
68Anna Plichta (Poland)0:16:05
69Janneke Ensing (Netherlands)
70Diana Klimova (Russian Federation)0:18:04
71Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark)
72Soraya Paladin (Italy)
73Audrey Cordon Ragot (France)
74Sara Bergen (Canada)0:18:20
75Stephanie Subercaseaux Vergara (Chile)0:18:44
76Paula Andrea Patiño Bedoya (Colombia)
77Natalya Saifutdinova (Kazakhstan)
78Caroline Bohé (Denmark)
79Eri Yonamine (Japan)0:20:47
80Jeanne Korevaar (Netherlands)0:22:33
81Sarah Rijkes (Austria)0:23:06
DNFMarta Lach (Poland)
DNFAlice Sharpe (Ireland)
DNFTayler Wiles (United States Of America)
DNFLisa Brennauer (Germany)
DNFAnna Henderson (Great Britain)
DNFAnabelle Dreville (France)
DNFSara Penton (Sweden)
DNFAna Maria Covrig (Romania)
DNFMónika Király (Hungary)
DNFAntri Christoforou (Cyprus)
DNFPernille Mathiesen (Denmark)
DNFMikayla Harvey (New Zealand)
DNFKatherine Maine (Canada)
DNFYixian Pu (People's Republic of China)
DNFAmiliya Iskakova (Kazakhstan)
DNFTrixi Worrack (Germany)
DNFElena Cecchini (Italy)
DNFCharlotte Becker (Germany)
DNFEugénie Duval (France)
DNFAude Biannic (France)
DNFLeah Thomas (United States Of America)
DNFLotta Pauliina Lepistö (Finland)
DNFJelena Eric (Serbia)
DNFEyeru Tesfoam Gebru (Ethiopia)
DNFKathrin Hammes (Germany)
DNFVarvara Fasoi (Greece)
DNFAnna Potokina (Russian Federation)
DNFKatarzyna Wilkos (Poland)
DNFAlicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spain)
DNFThi That Nguyen (Vietnam)
DNFAurela Nerlo (Poland)
DNFEmma Cecilie Norsgaard Jørgensen (Denmark)
DNFNicole Hanselmann (Switzerland)
DNFHiromi Kaneko (Japan)
DNFVita Heine (Norway)
DNFSusanne Andersen (Norway)
DNFTereza Medvedova (Slovakia)
DNFClaire Faber (Luxembourg)
DNFTeniel Campbell (Trinidad & Tabago)
DNFWing Yee Leung (Hong Kong, China)
DNFAna Cristina Sanabria Sanchez (Colombia)
DNFMiyoko Karami (Japan)
DNFFaina Potapova (Kazakhstan)
DNFAnne-Sophie Harsch (Luxembourg)
DNFRotem Gafinovitz (Israel)
DNFAlice Cobb (Great Britain)
DNFMaja Perinovic (Croatia)
DNFCristina Martinez Bonafe (Spain)
DNFTatiana Jaseková (Slovakia)
DNFSarah Roy (Australia)
DNFTiffany Cromwell (Australia)
DNFAlexis Ryan (United States Of America)
DNFTetiana Riabchenko (Ukraine)
DNFKatrine Aalerud (Norway)
DNFMartina Ritter (Austria)
DNFKseniia Dobrynina (Russian Federation)
DNFTereza Korvasová (Czech Republic)
DNFViivi Puskala (Finland)
DNFKaat Hannes (Belgium)
DNFCamila Coelho Ferreira (Brazil)
DNFClemilda Fernandes Silva (Brazil)
DNFValerie Demey (Belgium)
DNFChrista Riffel (Germany)
DNFElné Owen (South Africa)
DNFJeydy Pradera Bernal (Cuba)
DNFMosana Debesay (Eritrea)
DNFHoi Wah Leung (Hong Kong, China)
DNFRudina Baku (Albania)

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