Marianne Vos’ career spans almost 20 years since she burst onto the scene as a junior in 2002, and Sunday’s victory at Gent-Wevelgem is her first at the event in that time.
Not only does it make her the new leader of the Women’s World Tour (WWT) - stealing the purple jersey from Elisa Longo Borghini for whom it will surely come as a disappointment to lose the victory and the jersey in a day - but it looks as though the Dutchwoman has refined her style to target the classic races she has not yet secured a trophy for (in her presumably very large cabinet).
At 33, Vos is one of the most experienced riders in the peloton. In riding for a Dutch team - which is in its first year in the WWT, another step forward in the growth of women’s cycling - the team and herself have their sights set on dominating on the familiar roads of the spring and Belgian classics, just like their male counterparts. However, interestingly, of the races Vos has set out to target this year - the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Olympics and world championships - she has not yet won three of the five.
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A list of accolades including victories at La Course, Giro Rosa, Women’s Tour; three-times world champion, London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, four-time National road race champion and twice National time trial champion… the list goes on. A list as diverse as that across all corners of one-day and stage road racing, as well as cyclo-cross, could match that of the one and only Eddie Merckx. It’s no wonder many call her the GOAT, which brings us back to the sprint finish in Wevelgem.

Highlights: Vos triumphs after timing sprint to perfection

Vos had been protected in the group for the majority of the 141km race, while Longo Borghini, who was the most aggressive rider of the day, expended so much energy in her long-range attack with 18km to go into the headwind. The only time Vos left the pack was on the Kemmelberg when Longo Borghini made a lunge on the cobbles and launched herself away from the peloton the first time. Vos stayed with her.
For a while it looked as though Longo Borghini had the victory sealed, and one could be forgiven for thinking that (guilty), especially since the Italian’s impressive collection of leaders’ and champions jerseys mean it would be no surprise. But it’s never over until it’s over. Prior to the race Vos said: “You have to be alert on the unpaved plugstreets and make sure you are in the right position in the hilly zone including the Kemmelberg.” She stuck to her plan and did exactly that.
For Vos, it came down trusting her experience and famous sprinting style she’s known for. Around 300m before the line, not too early, not too late, have seen her excel on roads across the globe.
It was as perfect an execution as Jumbo-Visma counterpart Wout Van Aert’s “supreme” sprint earlier that day - and this time, nobody could match her.
Stay tuned for Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and next week’s Tour of Flanders. It looks like there’s plenty more to come.
Gent - Wevelgem
Highlights: Vos triumphs after timing sprint to perfection
28/03/2021 AT 18:41
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