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Gallery: Marianne Vos is the Greatest Of All Time

In-depth
25 Jul 2022
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It couldn’t have happened without her, it had to happen with her, and she had to make her mark. Marianne Vos just had to wear the Tour de France Femmes yellow jersey, and Stage 2 was hers.

After Lorena Wiebes dominated the Champs-Élysées sprint on Stage 1 of the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, most people wrote the largely flat Stage 2 off as another bunch sprint win for the Dutch sensation before the day began.

But the teams didn’t see it that way. World Champion Elisa Balsamo, who theoretically would’ve been hoping for a bunch sprint to improve on her seventh place in Paris, told reporters at the start in Meaux that the crosswinds would change the dynamic of the day. And how right she was.

Nerves were jangling all day as those winds howled, with riders constantly jostling for position.

Le Col-Wahoo’s white jersey-wearing Maike van der Duin took the race on with 26.7km to go and went on a solo break, and the chase behind, combined with the vicious winds and positional battle sadly led to a huge amount of crashes.

One of the riders who came off worst was Marta Cavalli, one of the GC favourites, who finished the stage but has since abandoned and been taken to hospital after reporting dizziness, with her helmet broken.

Cavalli’s FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope team suffered big time, with prized domestique Evita Muzic going down and their other leader Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig also getting caught in the chaos.

The race truly exploded with just under 20km to go, though, as Wiebes, Vos and Lotte Kopecky took off to contest the intermediate sprint behind Van der Duin over the uphill finish of the stage’s finishing circuit. 

Over the top of that move went Balsamo, who ripped the race apart in a clearly planned move taking her Trek-Segafredo team leader Elisa Longo Borghini with her along with Vos, Kasia Niewiadoma and her former Valcar-Travel & Service teammate Silvia Persico, and they quickly caught Van der Duin.

With the split made and crosswinds in full flow the gap was made, held and extended, with Team DSM and Movistar not able to bring the six riders in front back.

Balsamo was the enforcer in her rainbow bands, giving everything for the group and making sure everyone was playing their part.

And it was Balsamo who dropped off first as Longo Borgini attacked with just under 1km to go with the front group 40 seconds ahead of the pack.

Canyon-SRAM’s leader Niewiadoma led the last few hundred metres out from the front as Van der Duin tried to give it one final go but it was the group’s two cyclocross riders, Vos and Persico, who joined Niewiadoma in the battle for the line.

But it wasn’t close.

You can’t write cycling’s history without Marianne Vos and she etched her name into yet another chapter, taking the stage win and the maillot jaune in incredible fashion.

Vos now has 241 career pro road victories and over 400 wins in total. Greatest Of All Time. Just look at the length of this list of her career achievements.

Russ Ellis, Cycling Images, was on hand to capture the second historic stage of this historic race for Cyclist, here are his highlights:

Early escapees got ahead but they were brought back with almost 80km still to go.

We’re not in Paris anymore. Actually not that far though, there wasn’t much travelling to do for the riders between stages here.

Rainbow and yellow jerseys looking excellent towards the front of the chase.

The locals’ shutters were put to good use.

Zoom.

Lorena Wiebes had a sparkly yellow helmet and bike details for Stage 2, although the bike is difficult to see you can just make out the different fork.

We’re heartbroken for Marta Cavalli.

DOG.

If you set up enough of these, you could watch the whole race unfold from one spot.

The master.

Jumbo-Visma are getting their money’s worth this week aren’t they?

Tough day for everyone behind, Wiebes drops to sixth overall, 35 seconds down. With Balsamo finishing behind the main peloton after her hard work.

It was meant to be.


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