Image: Velofocus

After an extended break, Marianne Vos was back on the top step of the podium at her first UCI race in well over a year yesterday.

The multiple World Champion title holder suffered a hamstring injury back in 2014. She did return briefly in 2015, but then removed herself again from the race scene, with reports emerging that it was the effects overtraining she was beating.

With just months to go until the Rio Olympics, where Vos will be defending her title if she competes, she showed she’s back on form by winning the Pajot Hills Classic.

Vos began her return to racing at the Drentse Acht van Westerveld early in the month. She was thrilled to secure a top ten finish, and then went on to win a sprint for first place at the criterium van Oud-Vossemeer soon after.

The Pajot Hills Classic however was an entirely different beast – a UCI 1.2 race covering just over 122 kilometres.

Vos was racing alongside Rabo Liv team mates Anna van der Breggen, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Shara Gillow, Thalita de Jong and Kasia Niewiadoma. An early breakaway of five riders formed in the opening kilometres of the race, but they were brought back with under 5 kilometres to go.

The final result came down to a sprint finish, and Vos just clinched the win ahead of Boels-Dolmans rider Megan Guarnier, with Lotta Lepistö of Cervelo Bigla in third.

The top ten riders were as follows...

1 Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
2 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
3 Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team
4 Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
5 Jolien D'Hoore (Bel) Wiggle High5
6 Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Hitec Products
7 Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Lensworld-Zannata
8 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team
9 Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies
10 Camilla Møllebro (Den) Team BMS Birn