Olympic champion Marianne Vos is determined to end her five-year run of second place finishes at the UCI Road World Championships tomorrow.
Vos will have the backing of a full strength Dutch squad and a home advantage in the women’s 128.8km title race in Limburg where she is racing for gold.
“This year was big with the Olympic Games and that was the first main goal and I’ve achieved it. Now it’s an extra bonus to have the worlds in my home country so of course I want to wear the stripes again,” Vos told Cycling Weekly yesterday.
“I won in 2006 and I know how great it is to wear it all year and to go out training wearing the stripes. I sure want it a lot and I feel good. We have a good team and I feel confident but still at the start line we all have the same opportunities.”
The peloton will complete eight laps of a 16.1km circuit that includes the tough Bemelerberg and Cauberg climbs with maximum gradients of about seven per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
“I think it’s going to be a hard race, it’s really selective the course,” Vos said.
“It looks like it’s going to be pretty good weather for Dutch September but still eight times up the Cauberg and Bemelerberg is going to be hard. We’re going to have a really hard final and then we’re going to have the best riders in the last lap. It’s not going to be a bunch sprint on the Cauberg.”
Vos broke her collarbone in a crash in May but has otherwise had a dream season that has notably included gold at the world cyclo-cross titles, five stages and overall honours at the Giro Donne plus the Olympics where she bested Great Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead.
“I didn’t expect that one so that gave me so much confidence about myself,” Vos said of the Giro.
“I was really excited to go to the Olympics in really good form and I needed a little rest after. Since then I’ve focused on this race. I’m really happy with the (Olympic) gold medal but this race, home country, home crowd it’s going to be amazing.”
Vos enters the road world championships on the back of the Brainwash Ladies Tour that she won ahead of Evelyn Stevens (USA) and newly crowned time trial world champion Judith Arndt (Germany). She has named Stevens and Arndt as well as Great Britain’s Emma Pooley and Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini as threats to her gold medal campaign.
Longo Borghini’s teammate Giorgia Bronzini is set to enter the race as defending champion. Bronzini has won the past two editions but has reportedly suffered from a cold since arriving in the Netherlands.
Nicole Cooke was the last British rider to win the women’s title in 2008 and will start in Limburg alongside Pooley, Katie Colclough, Nikki Harris and Sharon Laws.
Vos will have the support of a strong team including Lucinda Brand, Loes Gunnewijk, Anna van der Breggen, Ellen van Dijk, Annemiek van Vleuten, Adrie Visser and Kirsten Wild.