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I rushed from my volunteer work at the Olympics through the atrocious rain to reach the Women’s cycling conclusion and boy was it worth it. Great Britain grabbed its first medal of the Olympics in typical British weather, making up for some of the pain felt by the Men’s cycling team the day before. With everyone cheering on in a whirlwind of drama and excitement on Fulham Road, despite being soaked to the skin, the thunder and pouring rain was fit for such a finale. Watching them zoom by in the final sprint for the finish line with 3km to go in these circumstances was absolutely incredible. Spectators rushed back to their homes, desperate to watch the dramatic finale after they had passed by.
Marianne Vos claimed gold for the Netherlands in the women’s road race on Day Two. Lizzie Armitstead took the silver with Russian Olga Zabelinskaya third in a thrilling rain-soaked 140km race that ended on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. A gold would have been the ultimate victory and naturally many would have preferred gold to silver, but the performance of both Armitstead and the rest of her team were still fantastic, the latter doing a great job on getting Armitstead to the final. It was certainly the best ride of her career.
The first medal will give inspiration for our athletes aspiring for a podium position at these Olympics after a mixed bag on the first day. The atmosphere was still great and despite the horrendous weather, everyone was still in good spirits, though some clearly have to understand how cycling works a bit better – one woman commenting ‘Who is Bradley Wiggins’. We are a young cycling nation when it comes to success, hopefully now we will learn to appreciate the sport more.
A great finale and the weather made it a spectacular conclusion to the Women’s Road Race. Congratulations to Lizzy Armitstead, but more so to Marianne Vos who lived up to the expectations and burden that Mark Cavendish struggled with and claimed the gold.