Austrian Underdog Anna Kiesenhofer Clinches Gold in Shocking Fashion in the Cycling Road Race at the Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 07/25/2021, 6:00 AM EDT


Austrian cyclist Anna Kiesenhofer shocked the world when she clinched gold at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Amongst a stacked field, Kiesenhofer wasn’t a favorite to win at all. However, she adds a gold medal to the Austrian tally in the overall medal standings.

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Shock winner in cycling road race at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Flags are hoisted atop of spectators’ seat at Aomi Urban Sports Park ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Naoki Ogura

The women’s road race event featured some of the most talented names in the field. Amongst them, the 30-year-old Kiesenhofer was a relatively obscure name. To reach closer to the podium positions, the Austrian had to pedal hard at the beginning, and she actually led the race eleven kilometres into it!

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Five cyclists broke away from the mass of 67 cyclists, 19 of whom did not finish. The 48 cyclists who finished survived not just a 137 km route, but the sweltering heat as well. Kiesenhofer broke away along with the five cyclists eleven kilometers into the race, but soon ditched them with 41 kilometers to go.

While the Austrian clinched gold, major credit goes to a huge botch by the Dutch team. Annemiek van Vleuten crossed the line in second place, but thought she finished first. Upon the harsh realisation, she claimed her break away from the group, which extended to 2.1 km was enough to win her gold. Unfortunately, she trailed behind the surprising winner.

Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini took home bronze. It’s shocking when one realises that only the gold medalist broke away along with five riders who led the race for a long time. Four of the five temporary leaders, Carla Oberholzer (South Africa), Vera Looser (Namibia), Omer Shapira (Israel), and Anna Plichta (Poland) finished below the top ten, and two of them did not finish.

Who won the men’s road race?

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At 137 km, the women’s road race is a Herculean effort. However, the men’s road race measures about 234 kms. The race features over 5000 m of vertical ascent, which will make any human being’s calves burn hotter than the sun.

Dominating the field was Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz, who took home gold. He eased his way through the Fuji International Speedway, bringing a rare gold medal to the South American country. Belgium’s Wout van Aert clinched silver as he crossed the line a minute and seven seconds behind Carapaz.

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Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar won the bronze medal, closing out one of the most exhausting events in Olympic history.

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Nathan Fulgado

1227 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.

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