Van der Breggen takes second World Championships Gold Medal
A dominant performance from Anna van der Breggen after a solo attack saw the Dutchwoman win her second world title of the 2020 Road World Championships at Imola
The Dutchwoman made her attack with around 40km to go and, similarly to 2018, no-one could live with her.
Van der Breggen, who is the Dutch national champion and won the Giro Rosa earlier this month, sealed her second world title in three days after also winning the individual time trial on Thursday.
Fellow Dutchwoman, Annemiek van Vleuten took silver after narrowly beating Elisa Longo Borghini in the sprint for second. Marianne Vos won a small kick for fourth, beating out Lianne Lippert (GER), Lizzie Deignan (GBR) and Kasia Niewadoma (POL). Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (DEN) was eighth, about 20 seconds after.
“It’s incredible. It was a really hard race and there was fighting from the beginning. The climbs were really tough and on the penultimate lap I felt strong and we discussed in front trying to make the race hard. We did it and I just went for it,” van der Breggen said.
The race was a slow-burn with an extended neutralisation and some opening salvoes not amounting to very much. The first meaningful attack came from Canada’s Alison Jackson, who was joined soon after by Grace Brown of Australia.
That duo eventually swelled to become the day’s breakaway, when a starry selection of riders was towed over by American Tayler Wiles.
It was not until the final 50km that things really came to life, with the forcing efforts of the top favourites effectively destroying the gap’s hefty cushion of advantage in a matter of a few short kilometres.
A powerful effort from Marianne Vos closed the gap finally, and then her team mate Annemiek van Vleuten took up the pace-making. The 2019 world champion was able to create a huge rift in the lead group, with only van der Breggen, Longo Borghini and Uttrup Ludwig initially able to hang with the pace.
When the counter attack from van der Breggen eventually, inevitably arrived, she left everyone behind.
For a while a chasing trio (with van Vleuten in the armchair seat not contributing) tried to bring her back, but the combined efforts of Deignan, Longo Borghini and Uttrup Ludwig were insufficient. They sat up to try and use the greater strength of the peloton to close on van der Breggen, but even all together they couldn’t stop her from building her lead.
On the final ascent of the Cima Gallisterna, van Vleuten and Longo Borghinin attacked one final time, breaking clear of the remaining chasers.
It is the first time since Jeannie Longo in 1995 that an athlete has won both road and time trial gold in the same year.
The race played out to the most popularly predicted narrative before the start; a dominant team display from the Dutch squad. The team lined up with all of the last three world champions on the road among their number, and played their tactics perfectly – allowing other teams to make the running until the race reached its business end.
VIDEO: 2020 UCI World Championhips Women's Road Race Highlights
2020 UCI World Championhips Women's Road Race Top 10
1 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) 4:09:57
2 Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) 0:01:20
3 Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
4 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 0:02:01
5 Liane Lippert (Germany)
6 Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain)
7 Kasia Niewiadoma (Poland)
8 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark) 0:02:41
9 Lisa Brennauer (Germany) 0:03:08
10 Marlen Reusser (Switzerland)