Marianne Vos Wins Olympic Gold in London
Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the gold medal in the women's road race in a rain-drenched sprint earlier this afternoon, leaving Great Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead with silver and the home country's first medal of the 2012 London Olympics.
who managed to race back to the peloton but was spent by the time the riders started up the climb again.
Reigning time trial gold medalist Kristin Armstrong of the United States crashed at the bottom of Box Hill, hampering the chances of the American team in the run-up to the finish. Armstrong's crash slowed down two riders from the British team, who then had to fight their way back to the front of the group while battling Box Hill.
Vos made her first big move on the final climb and was quickly joined by Armitstead. They went clear along with Sweden's Emma Johansson and American rider Shelley Olds, the group of four riders reaching more than 40 mph on the quick downhill.
Their gap was 18 seconds with about 25 miles remaining, and working together the trio managed to extend their advantage as another round of rain pounded the course.
Olds dropped away after puncturing her tire at the most inopportune of times, and the three riders remaining in the break carried on. Vos did most of the work at the front, pushing the gap to more than 30 seconds while a field led by the Italians and Americans frantically gave chase.
The wet roads didn't help their cause.
Every rider who moved to the front had to slow dramatically around the city's tight, narrow corners, and their lost momentum allowed the breakaway to build on its lead.
It reached 53 seconds as crowds choked the run-in to Buckingham Palace, and by that point it was clear the race would be decided among the three. Vos began her sprint with the finish line in sight, and Armitstead didn't have enough left to chase her down.
"With three, you know you have to keep on pushing to the finish, because it was our biggest chance for gold, or for a medal," Vos said. "I knew Lizzie (Armitstead) was fast on the line, so I was not dead-on confident, but I knew I had a chance, and I knew I had a big chance."
"It's the best day of my life," Armitstead commented after receiving the silver medal on the podium in London and added "Thank you to the thousands of people cheering who literally got me to the finish line, I'm incredibly proud of Great Britain. So many people deserve a slice of my Olympic medal."