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Cycling: Van der Breggen completes world championships double with road race title

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IMOLA, Italy (Reuters) - Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands claimed the road race gold medal in emphatic style at the world championships, prevailing after a long solo ride to add to her time-trial title for a rare double on Saturday.

Van der Breggen, who had already won gold two years ago in Innsbruck, Austria, jumped away from a reduced pack on the climb to the Cima Gallisterna in the penultimate lap, 41.5 km from the finish, and never looked back.

“It was a really hard race right from the beginning. The climbs are really tough but in the third lap I felt strong. We made the race harder and I just went for it. Everybody was tired,” said Van der Breggen.

The 30-year-old Olympic champion, who had geared up for the race by winning the Giro Rosa earlier this month, gave the Netherlands their fourth title in a row in the women’s road race.

Van der Breggen is also the second woman, after France’s Jeannie Longo in 1995, to achieve the road race-time trial double since the solo effort against the clock was added to the world championships in 1994.

Another Dutchwoman, defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten, took silver and Italian Elisa Longo Borghini claimed the bronze medal after the duo broke clear in the final lap while Marianne Vos, the triple world champion also from the Netherlands, took fourth place.

Van Vleuten was back in action after breaking her wrist during the Giro Rosa nine days ago.

Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alison Williams and Clare Fallon