| Event type

Road Race, Individual, Women

Date25 July 2021 — 13:00
LocationFuji Speedway, Oyama, Suntō District, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Participants67 from 40 countries
DetailsDistance: 137 km

The women’s road race started in Musashinonomori Park and finished at the Fuji Speedway 137 km later. It was 107 km shorter than the men’s race.

In both the women’s road race and time trial, it was difficult to see anybody toppling the strong Netherlands pair of Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten, the world’s No. 1 and 2 female road racers. Van der Breggen was the defending champion and was hoping to become the first women’s two-time road race champion. She also won the Giro d’Italia Femminile four times between 2015-21. The three World Road Race Championships between 2018-20 had been won by either van Breggen (twice) or van Vleuten (one). Van Vleuten had also won the Giro d’Italia Femminile twice, and between 2015-21 the pair had won four of the six races.

The Netherlands also had two other possible medal contenders at Tokyo in Marianne Vos and Demi Vollering, while the best of the other riders included Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini (the daughter of Italian cross-country skier Guidina Dal Sasso and Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, bronze medallist at Rio, and 2020 World Championship bronze medal winner.

With barely 2km raced, five riders unusually made a break. With 40 km gone, the breakaway became four and was made up of Carla Oberholzer (South Africa), Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria), Omer Shapira (Israel), and Anna Plichta (Poland) and, with 70 km to go, was reduced to three with Carla Oberholzer dropping back and, all of a sudden, the three leaders had more than a 10-minute lead on the peloton. Remarkably, one of the breakaway trio, Austria’s Kiesenhofer, made a solo break 40 km from the finishing line, which was something she had always planned to do.

Two members of the original breakaway group, Shapira and Plichta, stayed in contention but Kiesenhofer kept pulling away as the chasers were eventually caught by the pack headed by the strong Dutch riders. Gold looked inevitable for the Austrian rider and van Vletuten set off in search of the silver to make amends for her horrific crash 6 km from the finish in Rio when she had gold in her sights. She was rewarded with second place in Tokyo, with Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini crossing the line for a second successive bronze medal. One of the lasting memories from the 2020 Olympics was van Vleuten crossed the finishing line raising her arms believing she had won gold, unaware that honour had already gone to Kiesenhofer over a minute earlier. Perhaps it would have been a different story had radio technology been allowed at the Olympics.

Victory for Kiesenhofer was the unlikeliest in women’s Olympic road race history. She obtained a maths degree from Cambridge University and went into the Games without a major professional cycling contract. She came away from the Games as the first Austrian cycling medallist since Adolf Schmal back in 1896, the first Austrian, male or female, to win a road race medal, and the first Austrian female to win a medal in any cycling discipline.

148Anna KiesenhoferAUT3-52:45Gold
22Annemiek van VleutenNED3-54:00Silver
37Elisa Longo BorghiniITA3-54:14Bronze
420Lotte KopeckyBEL3-54:24
54Marianne VosNED3-54:31
611Lisa BrennauerGERsame time
728Coryn RiveraUSAsame time
86Marta CavalliITAsame time
957Olga ZabelinskayaUZBsame time
1010Cecilie Uttrup LudwigDENsame time
1122Lizzie DeignanGBRsame time
1233Margarita GarcíaESPsame time
1331Ashleigh Moolman-PasioRSAsame time
1425Katarzyna NiewiadomaPOLsame time
151Anna van der BreggenNEDsame time
1643Karol-Ann CanuelCAN3-55:05
1750Alena AmialiusikBLRsame time
1824Marta LachPOL3-55:13
1940Eugenia BujakSLOsame time
2041Christine MajerusLUXsame time
2164Eri YonamineJPNsame time
2249Paula PatiñoCOL3-55:15
2312Liane LippertGER3-55:17
2454Omer ShapiraISR3-55:23
253Demi VolleringNED3-55:41
2616Tiffany CromwellAUSsame time
2726Anna PlichtaPOL3-55:58
2834Ane SantestebanESP3-56:04
2929Leah ThomasUSA3-56:07
3036Juliette LabousFRAsame time
3127Chloé DygertUSA3-58:51
3244Alison JacksonCAN3-59:47
3352Tereza NeumanováCZEsame time
3456Arlenis SierraCUBsame time
3547Rasa LeleivytėLTUsame time
3645Leah KirchmannCANsame time
3737Katrine AalerudNOR3-59:52
3867Na A-ReumKOR4-01:08
3939Tamara DronovaROCsame time
4017Sarah GiganteAUSsame time
4113Hannah LudwigGERsame time
4221Julie Van de VeldeBELsame time
4363Hiromi KanekoJPNsame time
445Marta BastianelliITA4-02:16
4530Ruth WinderUSAsame time
4635Marlen ReusserSUIsame time
4715Grace BrownAUSsame time
488Soraya PaladinITA4-08:40
DNF9Emma NorsgaardDEN
DNF19Valérie DemeyBEL
DNF38Stine BorgliNOR
DNF66Teniel CampbellTTO
DNF62Antri KhristoforouCYP
DNF61Sun JiajunCHN
DNF53Agua Marina EspínolaPAR
DNF18Amanda SprattAUS
DNF14Trixi WorrackGER
DNF23Anna ShackleyGBR
DNF32Carla OberholzerRSA
DNF42Valeriya KononenkoUKR
DNF46Jutatip ManeephanTHA
DNF51Vera LooserNAM
DNF55Lizbeth SalazarMEX
DNF58Selam AhamaETH
DNF59Mossana DebesayERI
DNF60María José VargasCRC
DNF65Catalina SotoCHI