Sunday, 29 July 2012

Marianne Vos gold medal winner, women's 140km cycling road race, London 2012 Olympic Games

Clouds rolled over London’s 2012 Olympic Games. Thunder rumbled. Rain lashed. But drenched thousands still enthusiastically cheered the women cyclists as they dramatically finished their 140km (87 mile) road race near Buckingham Palace (Day 2, July 29), writes Paul Coleman.
 “I’ve stood here for four hours,” said Freda. “And now it’s all worth it.”
Freda and Johann, both from Amsterdam, began celebrating. They’d just seen their Dutch darling, Marianne Vos, zip past them on Constitution Hill’s purple road surface (above).

Johann and Freda had arrived two hours before the race’s midday start. Totally equipped, their inventory included a tablet complete with external antenna, folding stools, umbrellas, cagoules and sun hats – naturally, all Dutch orange – along with sandwiches, biscuits, fruits, bottled water and mints.
 The trio and the following pack raced by. Freda and Johann huddled over their tablet to watch live coverage of Vos (below, third right) triumphing in her gripping three-way sprint to the finish on the Mall.
  Britain’s Elizabeth Armitstead nabbed the silver – the host nation’s first 2012 medal – ahead of Olga Zabelinskaya, Russia’s bronze medallist. 
 Vos is a special athlete but all 36 cyclists deserved their roadside acclaim. They’d raced phenomenally through London’s city streets and Surrey’s country lanes, enduring driving rain and greasy roads. 
The 2012 crowd had done their bit too. 
“Marianne is wonderful,” said an elated Freda. “We’re off to the sailing next.”

Words and Photos: © Paul Coleman, London Intelligence.

Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, July 2012.

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