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Sept 27, 2014 – Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand-Prevot stunned the favorites to win a select bunch sprint for the women’s road race title at the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain on Saturday.
Germany’s world time trial champion Lisa Brennauer took second in a photo finish ahead of Sweden’s Emma Johansson, with twice former world champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy missing out by a whisker.
Such was the tense finish that the four women were separated by less than the length of a wheel. Double reigning champion Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, the overwhelming favorite coming into the race, could finish only 10th.
Ferrand-Prevot’s victory owed much to sheer opportunism for a specialist climber not known for her kick finish. But Olympic champion Vos, Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead, the silver medallist at the London Games, and Italy’s Elisa Longho Borghini will all have regrets.
The three broke clear of the pack, along with Johansson, on the final 1km climb. They went over the top with a clear gap and just 3km still to ride but as they came into the final kilometer with just the home straight ahead, none of them wanted to take the lead, allowing a chasing group of around 15 riders back into contention.
That group included a number of specialist sprinters such as Shelley Olds of the United States,but when the sprint was launched, Ferrand-Prevot wound her way through the traffic to punch through and take a shock victory.