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World Championships: Women Elite Road Race - live report


Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the elite women's road race.

As the Cyclingnews blimp take off, the riders are gathering for the start in Bradford. 

Teams are signing on under a tepid autumnal sun.

Great Britain sign on

Great Britain sign on (Image credit: Future)

Today the women face 149.5km of rolling racing today.

Like Friday's Under 23 men's race, the route heads into the North Yorkshire moors via a long loop. 

The race ends with three laps of the 14km Harrogate circuit.

We can expect an aggressive race as the major nations try to break the dominance of the Netherlands. 

The riders have rolled out of Bradford and we wait for the flag to drop and the race to start.

The riders will be happy to race in warm, dry conditions. Forecasts predict sunny, dry conditions and temperatures of 16C. 

This was the cheer for the Great Britain team when they signed on in Bradford. 

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Here we go! The flag is about to drop. 

There has been some overnight rain and so the roads are wet in places.

Vita Heine of Norway crashes in the neutralised sector but is quickly up and back in the peloton.

We can see Marianne Vos up near the front of the peloton ready for the official start and the early attacks. 

This tweet by the Italian Federation shows the moment the riders rolled out. 

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And they're off! 

There's a stiff headwind at the  start and so we can expect the wind to play a part later on the more exposed roads.

No attacks yet but some riders from minor nations are being dropped.   

Noura Alameeri of Kuwait is suffering at the back.  

Riders are taking off capes and gillet as they warm-up.  

The Italian team on stage

The Italian team on stage (Image credit: Future)

143km left from 149.4km

The race is about to pass through Lizzie Deignan's home town. 

But there's little time for emotions and to say hello in Otley. A rider from Croatia goes  on the attack.  

But Great Britain pulls her back allowing Deignan to be up front in her home town. 

Deignan's parents are at the side of the road but lizzie has no chance or time to stop to say hello.  

Indeed, a Colombia rider crashes and a French riders needs assistance.

Riders have to remember to stay on the left of the road for mechanical service. Otherwise they risk being missed, as happened the other day to Colombia's Germán Darío Gómez. 

Britain's Liz Banks os slowed by a chain problem. She resolves the issue alone and starts to chase. 

Before the problem Banks was also forced off the road into the grass.

135km left from 149.4km

The race is in the country lanes and the early climbs of the race. but there are still no attacks. 

The climb of Norwood Edge is 2km long. It is the first of two categorised climbs but the 149km route is full of short climbs and twisting roads.

The crowds are huge along the climb.

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From the CN blimp we can see how  the peloton has been split into different groups. The climb is hurting.

Demi Vollering of the Netherlands is setting the high pace. They are perhaps trying to shake out and reduce the peloton to make it safer for their team leaders.

A group of 25/30 riders have gone clear! 

The rest of the peloton is spread down the road in different groups. 

The front group has eased up and is eating,  that will help the chaser group get back on. But it is a clear sign of how the race will unfold. 

The race is heading towards the Moors and so we can expect more aggressive racing.

Indeed, Floortje Mackaij of the Netherlands goes on the attack alone. The peloton let her go. 


A few riders go down near the back of the peloton but are quickly up and chasing.

Kiwi Ella Harris needs a bike change after a problem. The pace has eased, so she should be okay and get back on.

127 left from 149.4km

Marianne Vos drops back to her team car to drop off her gillet and talk tactics.  

Floortje Mackaij of the Netherlands logically dropped back to the peloton. 

Liz Banks changes bikes after being caught in the crash. 

There are a few other spills. 

We now have the Great Britain lined out on the left and Australia on the right of the road.  

The French team move up through the middle but the pace has eased. 

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Italy's Marta Bastianella has called her team car for a bike problem. 

116km left from 149.4km

The riders reach Pateley Bridge as Bastianelli returns to the peloton.

Elena Cecchini is helping Bastianelli move up the peloton.

The riders are close to the Lofthouse climb. It's short but steep and will be key point in the race. The rood over the Moors is exposed to the wind and so could see some attacks. 

The wind is blowing from the west and so will be a cross/tail wind on the climb.

The riders are protected by the high hedge rows along the edge of Gouthwaite Reservoir. 

Great Britain lead the charge to the Lofthouse climb.

But the other teams are on their wheels.  

As the gradient hurts, Annemiek van Vleuten ups the pace and attacks. 

Deignan was on her wheel but lets her go clear alone.  

The steep section is hurting a lot of riders.

Van der Breggen has opened a 200m lead with a tail wind helping here on the Lofthouse climb. A select chase group forms behind her.

The road is exposed now, making it harder to chase.

102 left from 149.4km

Deignan tries a solo attack, as does Longo Borghini but they comeback together to form a chase group.

Annemiek van Vleuten has opened a 1:00 lead. Race on! 

97km left from 149.4km

Annemiek van Vleuten has pushed out her lead to 1:12 now.  Surprisingly Vos is not in the chase group but further back. 

The gap to Annemiek van Vleuten is down to 50 seconds, with Deignan again pushing the pace.  

The second chase group is at 1:55, this could be the decisive selection of the race.

Van der Breggen is in the first chase group with Deignan. She can sit on as Annemiek van Vleuten forces the others to work and lead the chase. 

87km left from 149.4km

The race is on the way to Harrogate for the three circuits and Van Vleuten has turned it into a pursuit match.  Can she win it with a solo attack of over 100km?? 

Annemiek van Vleuten grabs a bidon but is strangely still racing in her gillet.  

Of course, the polemic after yesterday's Under 23 races and the disqualification of race winner Nils Eekhoff continues.

 The UCI waited until after the race to consider the case of severe drafting and make a final decision. They have now released the full video footage of the incident, which clearly shows just how long Eekhoff sat in the slipstream of his team car and how the car dropped back to pace him several times.

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In the chase group behind Van Vleuten are: Elisa Longo Borghini and Soraya Paladin of Italy, Chloe Dygert Owen of the USA, Australia's  Amanda Spratt, Clara Koppenburg of  Germany, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig of Denmark and Lizzie Deignan of Great Britain.

The second bigger chase group is now 4:00 behind. Surely their race is over. 

76 left from 149.4km

The chasers are finally reached by their team cars and collect bidons and tactical advice. There are no race radios at World Championships and so it is difficult to get time gaps and other info. 

What is clear is that the chasers will have to work together all the way to the finish if they want to catch Van Vleuten. She is on a mission.

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Behind France and Germany are leading the chase in the second group. Their gap is down to 2:45 now but they still have lots to do. 

71 left from 149.4km

The riders pass through the feed zone and some in the front chase group grab musettes. They will need the drinks and food if they are to chase Vn Vleuten and fight for victory. 

Van Vleuten's lead is down to 45 seconds as everyone bar Van der Breggen works in the chase group. They seem to have realised they need to work together if they hope to bring her back. 

Elisa Longo Borghini dropped back to the Italian team car and the audio was picked up by TV: The national coach Savoldi said: "Keep riding, talk (to Soraya Paladin) and one of you save something for the final."  

66km left from 149.4km

Van Vleuten leads the first chasers by 1:00, with the peloton now at 2:35.

Oops! On a corner Dygert Owen goes onto the grass. She stays up and starts chasing again. 

Van der Breggen is still sat on the wheels in the first chase group. It's 16C but she's still wearing a gillet.  

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Van Vleuten's lead is up to 1:25. The Dutch team car goes up to here for the first time.  

Dygert Owen is also getting tactical advice from the USA team car. The chasers are working together but seem to be lacking the commitment and conviction to go and catch Van Vleuten. 

55km left from 149.4km

Van Vleuten is time trialing her way to Harrogate and a probable world title. 

Behind the chasers are even attacking each other. With Van der Breggen chasing the moves. 

50km left from 149.4km

Van Vleuten has been away solo for 55km. She now leads the chase group by 1:35 with the peloton at 3:00.

Dygert Owen tried an attack but is quickly pulled back. The gap to Van Vleuten is over 2:00!

For now Van Vleuten looks strong and able to ride all the way to the finish.

Van Vleuten passes through the finish area for the first time after almost three hours of racing. She looks as strong as she did when she attacked solo with 100km to race.

The chasers reach the finish some 2:37 down on Van Vleuten, the peloton is at a distant 4:03. 

The riders in the front chase group are surely thinking about and racing for second place now.

Indeed Chloe Dygert Owen attacks from the group.  

She accelerates on one of the short climbs on the Harrogate circuit. But Deignan goes after here, as does Van der Breggen.   

Elisa Longo Borghini is also there, as is Australia's Amanda Spratt.

Dygert Owen has been joined by Spratt, Longo Borghini and Van der Breggen. Deignan is chasing alone but seems to be suffering. 

The riders hit the Oak Ridge climb and Dygert Owen goes again.  This time she gets a gap.  

28 left from 149.4km

Annemiek van Vleuten is close to the finish, with two laps and 28km remaining. 

Dygert Owen is giving it her in pursuit but is 1:50 behind. 

Dygert Owen passes through the finish some 1:49 down on Van Vleuten. She pulled back close to 50 seconds in less than a lap. Can she do the impossible and catch her? 

This shot shows Van Vleuten as she throws a bidon to the crowd as she rides through the finish area with 2 laps to go.

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Longo Borghini, Van der Breggen and Spratt are at 2:17, Deignan at 3:00 and the peloton at 4:38.

23km left from 149.4km

We now have a pursuit match out on the roads of Harrogate. Van Vleuten leads Dygert Owen by 2:05. The young American now seems to be struggling. 

Dygert Owen pushes on alone but she's also fighting the stiff cross winds. She remains 2:00 down on Van Vleuten.

Lizzie Deignan is chasing alone, she's in sixth place out on the road and trying to fight for a medal. 

18 left from 149.4km

As the road rises, Spratt and Van der Breggen manage to distance Longo Borghini. This is a real battle of survival for the medals behind Van Vleuten. 

Van der Breggen is going after Dygert Owen in the final lap and a half, to fight for the silver medal and take a Netherlands 1-2.

15 left from 149.4km

Dygert Owen is struggling to stay away, highlighting just how incredible Van Vleuten's attack has been.  

14 left from 149.4km

The bell rings out for Van Vleuten to signal the last 14km lap of the Harrogate circuit. She still leads the chasers by 2:15 after a 100km solo attack.  

Dygert Owen is struggling on the rise to the finish line. She is going to be caught by Van der Breggen and Spratt. 

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Longo Borghini is fourth on the road at 2:54.

The peloton sweeps up Deignan as the bell rings out. They are 5:17 down on Van Vleuten. 

10km left from 149.4km

On a short rise, Van der Breggen catch and drop Dygert Owen. They know they can now go on and fight for silver and bronze.

Van Vleuten is like a metronome, pushing the pedals as she has for the last 100km. 

She attacked alone on the  steepest part of the Lofthouse climb and never looked back, time trialing away towards Harrogate and victory. 

Dygert Owen has cracked but is fighting on behind Van der Breggen and Spratt to defend fourth place.  

5km left from 149.4km

Van Vleuten gets the cheers from the crowd on a short climb. Behind Van der Breggen drops Spratt as she goes for the silver medal. 

Van der Breggen spins her legs on the climb as Spratt struggles. We're going to have (another?) Netherlands 1-2. 

3km left from 149.4km

Van Vleuten is on the descent back to Harrogate. She will soon be crowned world champion after a 106km attack! 

Spratt is 14 seconds behind Van der Breggen. 

Van Vleuten points to her ear ring for TV. It must be some kind of lucky charm. 

She's smiling now and blows a kiss to the crowd. Last year she finished with a fractured knee cap. Now she's going to be world champion!

Last kilometre! 

She takes the last tight corner, with just the climb to the line remaining. 

Van Vleuten dances on the pedals on the way to the finish.

Annemiek van Vleuten eases up and savours the moment she becomes the new elite women's world champion! 

She stops to celebrate near the photographers and then rides on to hug her coach and staff.

She goes to find her family near the finish.  

Here comes Van der Breggen to take silver at 2:15. Spratt takes bronze at 2:28. 

Van Vlueten and Van der Breggen may not be friends but they hug in celebration.

Dygert Owen also finishes, taking fourth at 3:24. Longo Borghini is fifth at 4:45.

Some 5:20 behind, Marianne Vos takes the sprint and brings home the peloton. She takes sixth place.  

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Van Vleuten reveals her attack was not planned. 

Van Vleuten said: 

"It was not actually planned, I wanted to go hard on the climb, I think that was good for our team. Then when I saw I had a gap, Then I just said 'continue now'. It was a crazy plan."

We have first images of Van Vleuten winning the world title. 

Annemiek van Vleuten wins the world title

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The riders are about to enjoy the medal ceremony in the centre of Harrogate.

Van Vleuten says 'Wow!" as she sees the big crowd. 

This is the moment Van Vleuten won in Harrogate.

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Van Vleuten raises her arms after emotionally listening to the Dutch national anthem. 

Van Vleuten explained her emotions of the day: 

"It was all a little bit crazy. I'm a little crazy. I train a lot and I think that also helped me a lot today, to be ready for such a big effort. People know I train a lot of hours on the bike and that helped me today."

"There's so many emotions; my mother's here and that's special for me, my father a little but too because I was also wearing the earrings I had in Rio. It was a big win to already be the time trial world champion but on the road you can wear it so much more often. I was really going into the moment at the finish line. I really enjoyed all the crowds, Yorkshire was crazy today and they were all cheering for me. I had goose bumps." 

Here's a shot of  Van Vleuten enjoying her victory.

Annemiek van Vleuten

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

"Anna (van der Breggen) did a great job for me. Having her behind me was good, so it's a super good podium," Van Vleuten said. 

"This win has a special taste because I was so disappointed after the time trial on Tuesday. To finish it and with a 100km solo, I can’t believe it. Innsbruck last year was more my course than today and it was hard to come back from injury and I couldn’t enjoy my time trial title. Now I have time to enjoy it."

This is the moment the three riders stood together on the podium.

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Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) makes her winning move

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

To see our growing photo gallery and see our full race report and full results, click here.    (opens in new tab)

Later we'll have interviews with all the key riders in action today and also look ahead to Sunday's elite men's road race.  

Lizzie Deignan was greeted  by her baby daughter and family at the finish after fighting hard all race. 

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This is the moment Van Vleuten hugs here mother after winning  the world title. 

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Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) wins the world championship

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) atop the podium with Anna van der Breggen and Amanda Spratt.

Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) atop the podium with Anna van der Breggen and Amanda Spratt

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Chloe Dygert Owen needed time to recover after making  huge effort in the women's race 

Chloe Dygert Owen needed time to recover after making  huge effort in the women's race  (Image credit: Future)

During the World Championships Cyclingnews Editor-in-chief Daniel Benson, Women's Editor Kirsten Frattini and Features Editor Patrick Fletcher have been producing regular podcasts. Check out this one after the under 23 men's race. 

Click here to listen.  (opens in new tab)

In case you missed, the UCI have released footage of the drafting that saw Nils Eekhoff stripped of his U23 road race world title, along with a statement insisting the punishment was appropriate. 

Click here (opens in new tab) to see the video of him slipstreaming his team car and to read the full story.

Samuele Battistella (Italy) couldn't hold back his shock and surprise after being handed the rainbow jersey at the UCI Road World Championships in controversial circumstances in men's U23 road race after Nils Eekhoff (Netherlands) was disqualified.

Read what he said by clicking here. (opens in new tab)

Thanks for joining us for full live coverage of the elite women's race. 

We'll be back on Sunday for full coverage of the elite men's 280km race. If the other road races are anything to go by, it should be a great race. 

We'll haver updates, photos and exclusive information throughout the day and post-race.  

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