Austrian Math PhD Anna Kiesenhofer Shocks Favourites In Olympics Women's Cycling Road Race


( Austrian mathematician Anna Kiesenhofer won the gold medal in women's road race cycling on Sunday. Kiesenhofer holds a doctorate in applied maths.

Austrian mathematician Anna Kiesenhofer claimed a shock gold in a women's Olympic road race on Sunday that saw veteran Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten mistakenly think she had won.

The 30-year-old national time trial champion Kiesenhofer, who holds a doctorate in applied maths from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia having also studied at Vienna and Cambridge Universities, held her nerve after a long breakaway that the main peloton never managed to reel in.

"It's incredible, I couldn't believe it, even when I crossed the line," said Kiesenhofer. "I planned to attack at kilometre zero and I was happy I could get in front. That is something I could not take for granted because I am not good at riding in the peloton.

"I am happy that I was not too scared and I just went for it. I attacked and with the group we worked more or less together -- it was helpful to have a group. I saw I was the strongest and I knew I had the climb before the long descent. "I'm pretty good at descending so I got some more time and then it was just like a time trial to the finish."

Drenched in sweat, she collapsed to the ground after coming through the finish line, screaming in delight, hands-on helmet in near-disbelief.

There was earlier drama for Van Vleuten, who sustained a concussion and a fractured spine in a horrific crash in Rio, after the 38-year-old took a tumble when Denmark's Emma Joergensen veered into her path after falling.

The 2019 world road race champion quickly regathered her senses and moved her way back into the peloton to take up the fight, with the women's race featuring a field of 67 riders compared to 130 in the men's road race won by Ecuador's Richard Carapaz on Saturday.

But Kiesenhofer held a five-minute advantage over Van Vleuten for large parts of the race, pushing the pace on a solo descent off Kagosaka Pass 40km from the finish to drop early breakaway partners, Israel's Omer Shapira and Polish rider Anna Plichta.

According to

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