Marianne Vos: 'Silver was all I could do' as Dutch spell over rainbow jersey is broken

Everything had gone perfectly, Vos says, until the last few metres when Balsamo couldn't be brought to heel

Marianne Vos
(Image credit: Getty)

Similar to how many Americans would have breathed a sigh of relief at the start of the year when the White House passed from one owner to the other, the Netherlands' four-year reign of tyranny in the women's Worlds road race is finally over thanks to Elisa Balsamo.

"Until [the finish line] the situation was good," Vos said after the finish, looking stoic in defeat with her chin held high. "I knew it was going to be a hard final but we wanted to make the race hard.

"I was trying to stay in the front, stay safe and save a little bit of energy for the final, that all went really well and I was in the right wheel but Elisa was faster on the line so you have to be happy with silver."

Vos was looking ominous in the closing kilometres after her team had ridden an imperious race, and as the Italians drew her clear of the rest of the competition you'd be forgiven for thinking it was game over, such is Vos and her country's proclivity for winning these rainbow jerseys.

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"I have to admit at first I was so disappointed. If you're so close to the gold then obviously I would have wanted to finish it off but I think Elisa did a great race and I was in the right wheel, when she opened it up i couldnt make the speed. 

"Silver was all i could do, I'm also satisfied with the shape I'm in and the silver medal I could take out of this race. My medal is there," she looks down at it hanging aroudn her neck, "and the smiles are back."

The final word is reserved for team-mate Anna van der Breggen, the defending champion who today raced her last day as a professional.

"It has been great to line up for so many years with Anna," Vos says. "I've seen her coming and it seems we’re dying already now so that’s weird. 

"She's a great champion and person, to race with Anna she was always...it’s weird to speak in the past tense...but she was always very dedicated and relaxed. It’s the fine balance that she had, to be who she is and never really act as the queen of cycling, although she was over the last years. 

"Anna is still Anna and she will stay the same. In cycling, we’ve had a great champion and role model."

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.