Tokyo Olympics: Kiesenhofer storms to cycling gold, Van Vleuten 'gutted' after celebrating win

By Sports Desk July 25, 2021

Anna Kiesenhofer produced a stunning ride to win gold in the women's cycling road race, with the result certainly taking second-placed Annemiek van Vleuten by surprise.

Kiesenhofer was part of a five-strong breakaway group that immediately moved clear before slowly dropping each of her rivals during the 137-kilometre route that concluded at the Fuji International Speedway track.

The Austrian was all alone at the head of the field with around 40km to go and, with other nations unable to organise a pursuit with team radios not in use, she ended up finishing 75 seconds clear.

"It feels incredible. I couldn't believe it," Kiesenhofer said after claiming the biggest victory of her career to date.

"Even when I crossed the line, it was like, 'Is it done now? Do I have to continue riding?' Incredible."

Such was the huge gap, Van Vleuten initially thought she was victorious when crossing the line, only to be quickly informed that was not actually the case.

"Yes, I thought I had won. I'm gutted about this, of course," she confirmed to the media afterwards.

"At first I felt really stupid, but then the others (her team-mates) also did not know who had won."

Still, Van Vleuten can celebrate securing an Olympic medal five years on from the horrific crash when leading the race at the Rio Games.

At the head of the field with 10km remaining, she came off her bike during the final descent, suffering severe concussion and small fractures to her back.

Elisa Longo Borghini claimed the final place on the podium this time around, securing a bronze medal in the road race for a second successive Olympics.

The Italian finished ahead of Lotte Kopecky of Belgium and Marianne Vos, the Dutch rider who triumphed at London 2012.

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    Santiago Buitrago won stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia as Richard Carapaz kept hold of the maglia rosa despite pressure from Jai Hindley.

    Colombian Buitrago had not won a Grand Tour stage before the mountainous 165km route from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone, but the Bahrain Victorious rider got off the mark on Wednesday.

    Having caught Gijs Leemreize on the final climb, Buitrago cruised to victory with a margin of 35 seconds.

    Mathieu van der Poel turned in another gutsy ride, but the Dutchman did not have enough in the tank to push on for a second stage win of the Giro after going out ahead on his own with around 65km remaining. 

    Van der Poel's compatriot Leemreize crossed the line second, almost two minutes ahead of third-placed Jan Hirt, who won Tuesday's stage.

    Hugh Carthy was fourth ahead of Carapaz and Hindley, who both finished two minutes and 53 seconds behind Buitrago.

    "It's been a really hard stage. I think we're happy – every day everything is being defined more, everything is clearing up in the GC and I'm happy to have the jersey another day," said Carapaz, who holds a three-second lead over Hindley.

    "Tomorrow will be an important day – we have to get through the remaining days, no day is easy and we've got a very difficult weekend coming up."

    Hard luck for Yates

    It has been a frustrating race for Simon Yates, who has won two stages but found himself way out of contention for the maglia rosa.

    His race is now run, with Yates withdrawing due to a knee problem, with Team BikeExchange-Jayco team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi confirming: "Despite daily therapy and Simon's tenacity, the knee pain grew worse."

    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) 2:27:41
    2. Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) +0:35
    3. Jan Hirt (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +2:28
    4. Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) +2:28
    5. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:53

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    General Classification

    1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 73:19:40
    2. Jai Hindley (BORA-Hansgrohe) +0:03
    3. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +1:05

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 238 
    2. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 121
    3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 117

    King of the Mountains

    1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 218
    2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 103
    3. Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) 94

  • Giro d'Italia: Hirt withstands the pain as Hindley closes in on Carapaz Giro d'Italia: Hirt withstands the pain as Hindley closes in on Carapaz

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    "I'm glad I managed to go solo. I always said that my biggest achievement would be to win a stage at the Giro d'Italia and I could stop after that, but I won't stop now."

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    Mythical Mortirolo

    An initially big breakaway group split on the Mortirolo Pass, one of the most notorious climbs in professional cycling.

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    "Every time I hear Mortirolo I want to anticipate. I wanted to go in the breakaway today," Hirt said.

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    1. Jan Hirt (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 5:40:45
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    3. Jai Hindley (BORA-Hansgrohe) +1:24
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    1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 167
    2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 99
    3. Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) 92

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