COPENHAGEN: Giorgia Bronzini of Italy produced a trademark power sprint to successfully defend her elite road race title and leave Marianne Vos in tears at the Road World Cycling Championships on Saturday.
Bronzini, 28, came over the finish line of the 140km race a wheel length ahead of Dutchwoman Vos, who took her fifth consecutive silver medal in the event and sixth consecutive podium place.
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg of Germany took third place, a full bike length behind, with Britain’s Olympic champion Nicole Cooke finishing fourth.
Given her mediocre results this season, Bronzini had hoped for a podium at best – partly explaining her exuberant celebrations at the finish line.
“I’m surprised because I didn’t expect to have a sprint like last year,” said the Italian.
“The second time (winning) is a dream. I believed in my chances, a podium, but I didn’t think victory would be possible because I didn’t have a great season.”
Canadian speed skating and cycling Olympian Clara Hughes had made an audacious bid for victory when she attacked late on the third from last of the race’s 10 laps of a 14km circuit.
But despite powering to a lead of nearly a minute, Hughes’ bid came to a virtual end once the peloton shook itself to life on the last lap.
She was reeled in with a little over 3km to race, prompting a wave of attacks before the long stretch leading to the slightly uphill finish line.
As expected, the 500m stretch leading to the finish was decisive.
Vos had been led in superbly by a strong Dutch team, but once on the rise Teutenberg made a solo bid for glory on the left hand side.
As she slowed, Bronzini was brought up the inside of the barriers on the wheel of a team–mate. Vos appeared to be impeded by Teutenberg and lost momentum as she pulled around the tiring German in a bid to follow Bronzini’s wheel when the Italian went alone.
“They placed me in a perfect position with 150m (to go), but I made a mistake to not open up my sprint,” said the Dutchwoman, who won her only road world title in 2006.
“I left it too late, and when I started my sprint, it was close, but not close enough.”
Teutenberg meanwhile was ultimately content with a first road worlds podium place.
“I came to win, I wasn’t strong enough,” said the German.
“They had two bike lengths ahead of me. I am disappointed not to have won, but I am also satisfied to reach the podium for the first time.” – AFP