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After having been sidelined for 10 months, Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) returned to the peloton on Sunday at Drentse Acht van Westerveld in the Netherlands.
The former 12-time world champion is still on the road of recovery but lined up at Drentse Archt to test her legs and fitness.
“The goal for this race is not to win, but to get some race kilometers in my legs, which is most important at this stage. I’m not yet at the level where I want to be or should be, but I’m fit enough to race,” Vos stated before the race.
Vos’ return was met with a lot of publicity and anticipation. At the start, the Marianne Vos fanclub was out in force, there were “welcome back” hugs from fellow cyclists and lots of media was out to see women’s cycling’s biggest star return.
Despite her “not here to win” statement, there were plenty of eyes on Vos when the race got underway, and together with her teammate Anouska Koster , Vos managed to make the winning breakaway.
At the end of the 140.5 kilometre race, however, it was Canadian Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur) who outsprinted her fellow breakaway riders for the win. Boels-Dolmans’ Christine Majerus came in second and Koster rounded out the podium for Rabo-Liv. Vos meanwhile fared well, coming in with the remaining breakaway riders in 10th place.
Vos admits that she’d been a little nervous before the start.
“A race is of course very different from training, and I hadn’t done a race in 10 months,” said Vos in a team statement. “But it was great to be there and even better to discover that it went so well. Today was a test and it could have gone wrong…but that it went well in Drenthe is an understatement. I was able to do more than I had expected beforehand. That is very good news.”
Vos is weary of looking too far ahead but is still determined to make the national team selection for the Rio summer Olympics. As she continues to work toward finding her fitness we’ll surely see more of her, however her next race appearance has yet to be revealed.