The Apeldoorn velodrome erupted into a deafening roar of delirious joy as Marianne Vos claimed the host country's first gold medal of these world championships.
She timed her jump perfectly into the second to last turn, blasting out of the winning five-rider breakaway to win by a large margin over Australian Kate Bates and Great Britain's Dani King.
It was the Dutch rider's seventh career world title after four in cyclo-cross, one on the road and another in the points race in addition to her Olympic gold in the same event. But, she said, winning never gets old, especially on home turf.
"It's amazing to hear the national anthem, to hear the people singing along, and to get the rainbow jersey. We didn't have a medal till today, and it was amazing to see Teun Mulder winning the bronze. That made me motivated to go for it. The people were yelling all the time, it doesn't matter how you race, but it's good to have the gold."
Vos, who, after missing out on the selection for the omnium, had but two chances at glory: the women's points race, where she finished a disappointing seventh, and tonight's scratch race.
She had just 40 laps to get it right, and with 28 laps to go it looked as if her race would go the same as the previous one. She attacked only to be quickly hauled back and caught behind the field when the counter-attack went.
This time, however, the break could not lap the field, and when it came all back together, Vos jumped, bringing along Bates and Aksana Papko (Belarus), with King and then Belgian Els Belmans (Belgium) bridging across later.
Unlike the points race, this time the breakaway worked together with Vos to stay clear of the field. Vos then jumped away with half a lap to go to take home her seventh career world title.
"I knew it had to be a hard race for me, not to wait for the final sprint. I attacked early, and I couldn't get a gap, so I waited. I waited for the right moment, and when I saw that moment I gave everything I had and a good breakaway came up. We worked well together. I knew I had the chance, but it's hard to feel how strong the others are in the sprint. I just focused on myself, and I knew how my legs felt, so I did what I thought was best. it ended up very well. I'm really excited to win for my home crowd."
Bates, the 2007 points race world champion nearly ended her career after she sustained a lingering hip injury. But after a surgery last year, she decided to try again. The silver medal may as well been a world title in rehabilitation.
"I've waited four years to stand on a podium again. This is fantastic. I'll definitely walk away with a positive feeling and fresh motivation."
The 28-year-old chalked up her making the winning move to experience. "I know [Vos] and I know she's a smart bike rider. If I have one thing over some of these girls it's experience. I'm probably one of the oldest riders out there, and after the attack came back, Marianne was so composed. I saw her moving and I said to myself, this is it. When she started getting out of her seat, I said 'yep, this is it!'. She always times it so perfectly. I've just learnt to be a little more patient."
For King, it was the second medal of her fledgling career. After joining the program last November, she proved to be a quick study, making the worlds pursuit team and then bridging across to the winning move in the scratch race.
"It was so hard. I just saw Vos go with a couple girls including Kate, and the gap got bigger and I knew I had to go. The girls were a bit wary to me, but I just knew I had to put my head down and go. I was alone for 4 or 5 laps, but I knew I had to get across.
In the final sprint, King just pegged herself to Vos, knowing she would be up there. "The idea was to get as close to her as I could and just put my head down and go as hard as I could, really.
"It's absolutely amazing. I just never thought I could achieve this in my first world championships."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Marianne Vos (Netherlands)|
|2||Katherine Bates (Australia)|
|3||Danielle King (Great Britain)|
|4||Els Belmans (Belgium)|
|5||Aksana Papko (Belarus)|
|6||Malgorzata Wojtyra (Poland)|
|7||Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)|
|8||Anastasia Chulkova (Russian Federation)|
|9||Sofia Arreola Navarro (Mexico)|
|10||Lucie Zaleska (Czech Republic)|
|11||Elke Gebhardt (Germany)|
|12||Debora Galvez Lopez (Spain)|
|13||Xiao Juan Diao (Hong Kong, China)|
|14||Fatehah Mustapa (Malaysia)|
|15||Jennie Reed (United States Of America)|
|16||Alzbeta Pavlendova (Slovakia)|
|17||Yoanka Gonzalez Perez (Cuba)|
|18||Pascale Jeuland (France)|
|19||Paola Munoz (Chile)|
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