at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Dutch cycling sensation Marianna Vos finally added Olympic road race gold to her impressive collection of titles after dominating Britain's Lizzie Armitstead in a two-up sprint on Saturday.
Armitstead finished second at over a bike length behind to take the silver with Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia winning the bronze after 140 km of road racing.
Vos, the Olympic champion in the track points in Beijing, came into the race having won five stages of the women's Giro d'Italia as well as the event's overall title.
And she proved that form had not deserted her with a powerful sprint inside the final 200 metres that Armitstead simply could not match.
Defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke of Britain finished with the main chasing peloton less than 30sec behind the leading trio, who came into the capital on their own to contest the medals.
With the pressure on Britain to claim a medal after the men's road race whitewash on Saturday, the British women made sure there would be no repeat with both Emma Pooley and Armitstead among the main protagonists.
After a series of attacks and counter attacks by climbing specialist Pooley on the Box Hill circuit, Armitstead did well to follow Vos when the Dutchwoman counter-attacked Zabelinskaya with 45 km to go.
American Shelley Olds joined the trio and together the four leaders soon went on to build a lead of 30sec on the peloton over the next 15 km.
Germany, Italy and Sweden were among the big teams not represented in the attack and were left in a desperate chase that was made even more difficult when the rain that had marred the start of the race came on again.
The leaders' bid to stay away suffered a minor blow when Olds dropped out after appearing to suffer a puncture. Almost simultaneously, Swede Emma Johansson suffered the same setback in the chasing peloton.
Vos, Armitstead and Zabelinskaya were not to be outdone, however.
Despite the Americans and Italians moving to the front of the chasing bunch in a bid to help close the gap, the leaders' continued collaboration gave them a lead bordering on 45secs with 18 km remaining.
In the end, it proved enough to secure them the medals. – AFP