Anna van der Breggen wins women’s road race gold at the Rio Olympics

Dutch cyclist Anna van der Breggen won the women’s road race at the Summer Olympics on Sunday. Van der Breggen turned in a brilliant ride and earned her victory, but the horrifying late crash of leader Annemiek van Vleuten marred the event. 

In the race’s home stretch, it became a two-woman event between van Vleuten and Abbott, who built themselves a gap on the rest of the field of about 50 seconds with 15 kilometers remaining. Three more riders chased them, with effectively little more than bronze on the line as long as van Vleuten and Abbott stayed upright. Van Vleuten, slowly but surely, created her own breakaway group by the time 11 kilometers were left. Her crash ended that, and Abbott ran out of gas at the worst possible time.

For most of the race, it was generally close. Nobody stood far out from the peloton as it closed toward the final 30 kilometers of the race, with a group of Americans among the pack’s frontrunners. Kristin Armstrong, who came to Rio with Olympic gold already to her name, spent much of the race helping her teammates draft.

The road race is one of the oldest Olympic events, with origins as far back as the 1896 games, when it was purely a men’s event. Vos won gold in the women’s race in 2012, while Armstrong won the time trial. Great Britain’s Nicole Cook won it in Beijing in 2008, when Armstrong also won the time trial.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games – Women’s road race:

1 Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands)

3:51:27

2 Emma Johansson (Sweden)

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3 Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)

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4 Mara Abbott (United States Of America)

+04”

5 Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain)

+20”

6 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland)

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7 Flavia Oliveira (Brazil)

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8 Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)

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9 Marianne Vos (Netherlands)

+01’14”

10 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa)

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