Innsbruck (Austria) (AFP) - Hot favourite Anna van der Breggen pulverised the opposition for a deserved gold medal in the women's world championships road race on Saturday as she soloed through huge crowds in central Innsbruck to wild applause.
The 28-year-old Dutch rider, who won silver in the time-trial on Tuesday, made her break from around 40km out and finished almost four minutes ahead of Australia's Amanda Spratt as Italy's Tatiana Guderzo took bronze some 5min 26sec behind Van der Breggen.
The Olympic and European champion from 2016 broke down in tears briefly on crossing the line.
"Until the finish line I never believed it," she said. "World championships are so hard to win."
"I had too many doubts after many near misses and only let myself go right at the finish line," said Van der Breggen.
The winner made her move after the Australian team had chased down an earlier attack to get Spratt into the lead group and timed her attack at the bottom of a climb on the first of three circuits of the city-centre.
Van der Breggen sustained her tempo to drop everyone except Spratt, who relented within the final kilometre to leave the Dutchwoman to go it alone for almost two full, 23km-long laps of Innsbruck.