London 2012 Olympic Games women’s road race photo gallery>>

Lizzie Armitstead gave Great Britain its first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, claiming silver in the women’s road race on Sunday behind Marianne Vos of the Netherlands.

Armitstead, Vos and Russian Olga Zabelinskaya came to the rain-soaked finish together having been part of an escape group all the way into London from the final ascent of Box Hill.

By the final kilometre, the trio had maintained a 40-second gap over the much reduced chasing peloton. Zabelinskaya – the weaker of the three in fast finishes – led Vos and Armitstead in the last 500 metres. Vos then opened up her sprint, with Armitstead fighting hard to come around her.

Vos held the British rider off in The Mall to claim the Olympic road race title, one of the few wins previously missing from her extensive palmares.

Ina Teutenberg won the field sprint for fourth place after her German team had done much of the chasing into London.

Netherlands and Great Britain lead the way
Unlike the previous day’s men’s road race, the teams that put the work in to the day’s racing were the ones that reaped the rewards.

Both the Netherlands and Great Britain teams rode tactically astute races, forcing escapes, upping the pace and policing breakaways where necessary. The four-rider limit for each team seemed to make little difference in their dominance of the 66-rider field.

Britain’s Emma Pooley played a huge role in decimating the peloton and keeping an eye on escapes on the two loops of Box Hill – much to the delight of the crowd, who endured torrential rain but still managed to chant Pooley’s name as she went past.

Defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke caught back up to the bunch after drifting off the back on the first ascent of Box Hill. She maintained her place in the peloton to the line, ready with fresh legs should team-mate Armitstead’s group get caught.

The fourth member of the British team – Lucy Martin – fared less well, getting dropped on Box Hill and not making it back up to the front of the race.

Punctures and crashes also played their part in proceedings. American Shelley Olds had been in the escape group with Armitstead, Vos and Zabelinskaya but was forced to drop out after suffering a flat tyre. Olds chased back up to eventually place seventh.

Pooley punctured in the final five kilometres, and came into the finish just under two minutes behind the leaders.

Several riders fell by the wayside as thunderstorms turned formerly dry roads into slick tarmac. No major injuries were reported.

Re-read out women’s road race live text coverage>>

London 2012 Olympic Games, women’s road race: London/Surrey 140km
1. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) in 3-35-29

2. Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) at same time
3. Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) at 2 secs
4. Ina Teutenberg (Germany) at 27 secs
5. Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
6. Emma Johansson (Sweden)
7. Shelley Olds (USA)
8. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France)
9. Liesbet De Vocht (Belgium)
10. Aude Biannic (France) at same time
31. Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) at 32 secs
40. Emma Pooley (Great Britain) at 1-57

Nicole Cooke

Emma Pooley on Box Hill

Lizzie Armitstead heads escape group

Emotional win: Marianne Vos

Armitstead, Vos and Zabelinskaya on the podium

London 2012: Live text coverage of cycling events
July 28: Men’s road race
July 29: Women’s road race

London 2012: Latest news
Tickets for Box Hill? You may need another…
Bradley Wiggins’ UKSI Olympic bike
Hoy helicoptered in for opening ceremony
Box Hill closed after local riders give security the slip
Boonen and Gilbert train on Box Hill Olympic circuit
Goss fresh for Olympic Games assault
Trott on top: London 2012
Hoy to be GB flag bearer at London 2012 opening ceremony
Millar: I think about Olympics all the time
Cavendish recognises advantage in missed Tour chances ahead of Olympics
Kenny not Hoy selected for London 2012 sprint
German and French Olympic teams sneak in fourth sprinter
Cavendish: GB’s best bet for Olympic gold

London 2012: Team info
Men’s road race start list
Women’s road race start list
Men’s time trial start list
Women’s time trial start list
Team GB rider profiles
Great Britain track team confirmed
Bronzini leads Italian Olympic cycling tea
British Olympic men’s road race team announced
Armitstead and Cooke lead GB women’s road cycling team

London 2012: Event guides
Olympic Games women’s road race: Who will win?
Olympic Games men’s road race: Who will win
Download detailed Olympic road race route map
London 2012 cycling schedule

London 2012: Reports
Men’s road race: Vinokourov wins as Cavendish misses out

London 2012: Photos
Men’s road race by Phil O’Connor
Men’s road race by Graham Watson
Team GB road race training on Box Hill (July 26)

London 2012: Podcasts
Cycling Weekly podcasts on Soundcloud

London 2012: TV schedule
London 2012 BBC TV cycling coverage schedule
London 2012 Eurosport cycling coverage schedule


  • Ken Evans

    After all the comments between and about Armistead and Cooke,
    the result wasn’t so bad.

    Maybe Armistead could have played the finish differently,
    with attacks instead of a sprint ??

    Despite the rain, the crowd was huge and vocal.

    Hope the UK female racing scene improves as a result.

  • dai bananas brother

    Well JD, Dai’s missus was told up at the shop that Dame Tammie Wynette was doing the comments, she rushed back (this was saturday) to find it was in fact Dame Tammi Thompson-Grey who at least has the background to talk about wheeled endurance sport. Trouble is there’s now half the village tuning in to the Time Trial expecting top hear a chorus of Stand By Your Man

  • Cavologuardi

    I of course meant ‘Pooley and Armistead’ in that previous comment, not ‘Armstrong’. Damn predictive text!

  • Philip Livingstone

    Just a pity Sharon Laws wasn’t competing as i think her contribution could have made a difference….

  • jimmythefish

    As much as I don’t like to bang on, there’s something in the paper which says that the reason for the information breakdown in the Mens’ race has to do with so many people using ‘twitter’ around the course it blocked out the GPS signals from the bikes.. Shades of the ‘Nokia Nitwits’ Danny Baker singles out for blocking the view waving phones in the air. Also, the same rag says that the next “big race” for old wash’n’go Cav is the Eneco Tour……… there.

  • jimmythefish

    Messrs Boardman and Porter will have a system in place to monitor the TT progress, top-notch pairing to cover it. Is Cancellara going to make it? We’ve taken an E/W on Sanchez @66/1

  • JD

    And the BBC race coverage of the cycling has only been the half of it – why didn’t the Corporation have the intelligence to get a cyclists on to discuss the aftermath of these races?

    They left Dame Kelly Holmes dangling in her ignorance when asked to comment on the Men’s Road Race. Pathetic.

  • William Hirst

    If you are wondering why the ladies didn’t have the ‘special’ bikes that the men had, I think British Cycling would have been more than happy to supply the girls with black bikes, but the women also had contractual obligations to ride bikes supplied by whoever sponsored them. Notice David Millar rode his team issue Cervelo as he was the only non Team Sky member of the men’s road race team. Team Sky must have negotiated a condition with Pinarello to use the black bikes for just for the Olympics. A women’s Team Sky would not be a bad idea would it Dave.

  • Cavologuardi

    As canny as the men were dumb yesterday. Pooley and Armstrong… what a team! I’d like to think Cooke did her best to disrupt the chase too. I’d really like to think that.

  • Mike

    Great race, poor TV coverage. Time gaps? List of leaders names?
    Come on, its not rocket science. It would have added to the spectacle to know if the break was opening a time gap or being caught, rather than having to guess.

    Dont knock the mens team. Its not possible for 4 guys to control the peloton for 250k. Logic would have dictated that the other sprinters teams would have wanted to get there guys up there for the sprint, or why bother turning up at all? Just to ride around and enjoy the views?

  • teddy

    no special bike for Lizzie and the other girls today…..more return in terms of road racing medals in last two olympics. only shame today was only getting to see them complete two laps of boxhill…i know its not always the case, but today was real exciting racing (i got no tickets and was around the back of the boxhill circuit). Hopefully there will be more coverage of womens racing on this website and TV (ok maybe thats hoping for too much)….

  • Roger B

    Great ride,well done Lizzie. Same as yesterday the TV coverage left a lot to be desired, no graphics giving distance to go and gap times. Pretty poor show, no I am worried about what they might do or not do for the time trials.

  • Keith Bingham

    Brilliant, Lizzie. A great roar greeted your silver medal performance in the pouring rain from the big crowd – soaked to the skin in solidarity – enjoying the spectacle on the big screen at the super Cycle Road Show at Denbies, Dorking. And what a ride by Vos, to the take the title.
    Well done to the British women’s team.
    The men’s race was superb, too, even though the Brits team strategy came unstuck, outgunned by
    a leading break set in motion with one purpose – leave sprinter Cav behind.. Different set of dynamics in play saw to that. The message is clear. If GB want to win single day classics, they’ll need a plan B: someone capable of getting clear – as Armitstead demonstrated.
    A fantastic weekend of road cycling.
    Now for the TTs.


  • George

    Team GB’s women showed the men how it’s done! The way Pooley attacked again and again and then Armitstead following the attack was incredible. They didn’t really control the race but they made an impact and an interesting race.
    Well done on Britain’s first medal!

  • dai bananas brother

    Much better spectacle than yesterday. the rain added to it as well. Vos has some power, hasn’t she just, needed two of our team up there to work her over!!
    . Well done Lizzie Armitstead! Dai’s missus was on the edge of her seat during the live transmission of the pig and sheep judging at the Royal Welsh Show last week, sends her apologies for missing today, enough excitement for one summer already