Vos delays road season opener to Fleche Wallonne

Multiple-discipline world champion will narrow her focus in the lead-in to the 2016 Olympics

Multiple-discipline world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-liv) is adjusting her 2014 schedule to give her more rest ahead of the build-up to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Vos will wait until Flèche Wallonne Féminine in late April to open her road campaign, her Dutch team announced Thursday.

“With Rio in sight, I decided to opt for a longer rest time between ’cross and road,” Vos said via the team’s website.

Vos will not race on the mountain bike circuit, choosing to focus on the road ahead of her gold medal defense. The Dutchwoman won the road race in London in 2012.

“It’s been very busy for the past few years for Marianne,” said team manager Koos Moerenhout. “The seasons ran into each other and they went from climax to climax, but that took a lot of strength. Last year, we got to know our limits. There had to be a different approach. Sometimes you have to kick on the brakes. Even Marianne, who sometimes cannot stop.”

Vos said she was fit and the back pains that saw her undergo surgery to remove a cyst in late 2013 have subsided. The 2013 road champion identified her top goal for the season as a defense of her rainbow jersey, as well as the trade team time trial.

“The new developments around the women’s calendar and the balance in my program give me a lot of confidence to achieve my personal goals and the future of women’s cycling,” she said.

Vos is the current world road and cyclocross champion for elite women, and is also the reigning Olympic road champion. She has previously won Olympic gold on the track.

Flèche Wallonne Féminine takes place April 24 in Belgium, finishing atop the Mur de Huy.