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Marianne Vos wins the Ronde van Vlaanderen - at last!

It's tempting to imagine that Marianne Vos has won absolutely everything in cycling, but the Ronde van Vlaanderen has always been the one that got away. In 2011, she was racing for her team-mate, Annemiek van Vleuten - and last year she couldn't start the race because of 'flu - so when she lined up this morning, everyone was watching her. But she wasn't going to have it easy - watch the videos to see how the race panned out

Screenshot, Ronde van Vlaanderen 2013 podium
Screenshot, Ronde van Vlaanderen 2013 podium

Firstly, here's 7.5 minutes, in Dutch, on Sporza - please click through an watch it, to show Sporza how much we love the sport. And here's 3.5 minutes on the UCI youtube channel, commentated by Velonation's Ben Atkins:

Edit! And 12 minutes in English, too:

Highlights of Tour de Flandres & Fleche Wallonne - Rounds 3 & 4 of 2013 Women's World Cup (via ucichannel)

If you're in the Netherlands, or your computer reads that way, there's a report of the race on NOS - and if you understand Dutch, NOS have a sweet little interview with Vos after the race.

So, what happened? Well, with the Molenberg at 37km, and then a climb or a cobbled section pretty much every 10kms until the final run-in of 16k, it was always going to be a tough race, with the whole peloton wanting to be at the front for the narrow, slippery, cobbled climbs, and it was no surprise there were crashes, the first one being before the Molenberg. It was tough out there - this tweet summed it up for me:

The peloton was all small groups throughout the race, breaking up and coming together, with lots of attacks and catches, and riders hit by punctures and chasing back. The endgame of the race would begin at Oude Kawaremont, at 101km, with 2 more climbs, Paterberg and Hotond, in less than 10km, and then 16km of flat. 50 riders were together - and then in the run-up to Oude Kawaremont, Vos made her move - with Emma Johansson (ORICA-AIS) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products UCK) immediately in her wheel. This was a major attack - and it became even stronger when Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) bridged across to join them. They stayed together over the hills, and duelled all the way into town, each of the four riders using her particular skills to try to escape - but they were well matched, and it came down to a bunch sprint - Vos won! Van Dijk in second, and Johansson third - and behind them, Vos' team-mate Van Vleuten won the sprint from a small chase group, with Kirsten Wild of Argos Shimano bringing in the big bunch

1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant, 3:33:21
2. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon, s.t.
3. Emma Johnsson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, s.t.
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK, s.t.
5. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant, + 02:37
6. Adrie Visser (Ned) Boels-Dolamns, s.t.
7. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers, s.t.
8. Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) ORICA-AIS, s.t.
9. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, + 02:39
10. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Argos Shimano, + 04:33

Full results

There will be all kinds of interesting things, as per usual, and the place to look for them - and share them - is in the comments!

I loved this finish-line photo on Sporza (love the passion from Vos and Van Dijk!) - and there will be more photos (and a better race report!) on - and there's a gallery on Cyclingnews. Here's a typically Vos-y reaction on twitter:

I've written a longer race report on Total Women's Cycling, if you'd like to click through and read that.

So, tomorrow the women race the GP Dottignies, before one of the nicest stage races of the year (to follow, if not to ride) and the Energiewacht Tour. Vos keeps her World Cup lead, Van Dijk moves into 2nd place in the rankings, Johansson keeps her podium run intact, and Longo Borghini cements her superstar status. A good race all round, then!