Viet Nam News
DOHA — Marianne Vos makes her return to the World Championships in Qatar on Saturday bidding to join an elite list of cyclists to have snared at least four road race world titles.
The 29-year-old Dutch rider, champion already three times in 2006, 2012 and 2013, missed last year’s event in the USA, but is one of the favourites to take gold in the Gulf.
The sprint specialist, who has also finished runner-up on five other occasions, should be well-suited to the flat 134-kilometre course, which will see riders race from the west of Doha before completing seven laps of the ’Pearl Qatar’, the man-made island which has served as the finishing line for all this week’s events.
If she wins, she will join Belgium’s Yvonne Reynders as a four-time champion, just one behind the record five claimed by France’s Jeannie Longo.
Vos trained in Oman before heading to Qatar, where she has now "joined the other Dutchies," she said on Twitter.
Those other ’Dutchies’ include Kirsten Wild, who won the Ladies Tour of Qatar earlier this year, Olympic gold medallist Anna van der Breggen, and Ellen van Dijk, who has already claimed team gold and individual silver this week in the time-trial events.
Defending champion Lizzie Deignan (nee Armistead) comes into the race on the back of a turbulent few months after playing a central part in the storm currently engulfing British cycling.
Ahead of the road race in Rio, Deignan was the favourite but then found herself facing doping accusations after it emerged she had successfully appealed a ban imposed for missing three out-of-competition drug tests.
That decision was criticised by some of her peers, but she took part before finishing fifth.
Armitstead was undone by the climbing in Rio but the flat course in Doha should suit her.
Australia’s Chloe Hosking, a strong sprinter, could also be a contender on the fast Doha course as could four-time Belgian national road champion, Jolien D’Hoore.
Although the course favours sprinters, the narrow roads on parts of the Pearl could present problems for the peloton in the final stages and potentially favour an upset.
Organisers, who have been under fire for hosting the tournament in the Gulf because of the high temperatures, expect the race to take part in the coolest conditions of the week, around 33 Celsius degree. AFP