Italy’s Elisa Balsamo frustrates the Dutch and snatches gold in the ladies, 16th place for Kopecky

Incredible Elise Balsamo! At 23, the Italian stood up to the Dutch armada to win the gold medal in the women’s road race. At the end of a tense sprint with the triple winner of the event Marianne Vos, she was finally able to raise her arms, after the effort and a frenzied race in the last kilometers. At the forefront all day, the Polish Katarzyna Niewiadoma grabs a beautiful bronze medal.

A race that took a long time to settle. The difficulties that are linked weigh in the legs and attacks are thus too rare. You have to wait for a first wet firecracker from New Zealand’s Michael Drummond to vibrate a little in the first 80 kilometers.

An attack which has the gift of making the peloton react and accelerating the debates. Behind, the less swift of the day let go of the ballast in a session “skimming from behind”. Among the trapped, defending champion Anna van der Breggen.

About 40 kilometers away, while the peloton is a stone’s throw from approaching the final circuit, a small group is isolated in the lead: among them, the 2019 winner Annemiek Van Vleuten or the Spaniard Mavi Garcia. He is quickly swallowed up by the pack.

But the Spaniard Garcia is not satisfied. After an unsuccessful attempt by Biannic, she boarded again. Behind, the peloton is busy not to let this recalcitrant outsider slip away. On the Belgian side, Lotte Kopecky is far, very far, too far.

Result, it must lower flag when the favorites accelerate. The 2nd group, in which it is 17km from the finish, will no longer be able to participate in the victory. Unless the undermining of a heroic Jolien D’Hoore makes it possible to make the connection. But this is not the case. After 140 sacrifices for her leader, Kopecky, the Belgian cracks.

At the back of the group, Kopecky is therefore left to her own devices. Up front, Garcia holds on and fights like a lioness to keep up with the peloton. The game between the Garcia cat and the Dutch mice continues for several kilometers.

10 kilometers from the finish, end of the fairy tale for Garcia and general meeting.

The attacks fuse but the peloton is watching. The pace picks up, the tension mounts in a messy finale. The kilometers go by and the small group of about twenty runners rush towards the finish.

Lotte Kopecky is still there but vegetates at the back of the group. Red flame ! The medals will be played in a sprint. The freshest of the Italians, Elise Balsamo attacks from afar. She sees the Marianne Vos rocket coming back but is finally holding on to clinch the best victory of her career. Sublime triumph therefore for the transalpine team which stood up to the Dutch armada!

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