It’s not the winning, but the taking part that counts. But when a more-or-less guaranteed victory slips away in the final seconds, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Australian cyclist Lucy Kennedy, 30, thought she had her very first win at the Women’s World Tour level in the bag, raising her arm in jubilation mere inches before the uphill finishing line in Piedicavallo, Italy.
Unfortunately for Kennedy, this was all it took for stealthy Dutch rider Marianne Vos, 32, to overtake her and secure a Stage 3 win, with Kennedy pushed into second place. By the pained look on Kennedy’s face, this is a mistake she won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
This marked Vos’s second consecutive Giro Rosa stage win. Kennedy’s – still very impressive – second place win marks her first World Tour podium finish.
Following her frustrating, hair’s breadth defeat, Kennedy owned up to her mistake gracefully, tweeting:
Lesson most definitely learnt: always sprint beyond the line and never celebrate early. It hurts to come so close to my first #WWT win at #girorosa today, but I can be very happy with my form and how @MitcheltonSCOTT executed our plan perfectly (until 3m to go)
Lesson most definitely learnt: always sprint beyond the line and never celebrate early. It hurts to come so close to my first #WWT win at #girorosa today, but I can be very happy with my form and how @MitcheltonSCOTT executed our plan perfectly (until 3m to go 🤦🏼♀️) pic.twitter.com/xDyFZ7rM4G
— Lucy Kennedy (@lucyjkenn) July 7, 2019
Professional athletes could relate to Kennedy’s sporting gaff, empathising all too well with this very specific type of face-palm.
Australian former professional racing cyclist Cadel Evans tweeted:
We’ve all lost a few when we were ‘sure’ to win… it’s not over until you cross the line. Head up, tomorrow is another opportunity!
— Mitchelton-SCOTT (@MitcheltonSCOTT) July 7, 2019
Kennedy told the New Zealand Herald how she was still ‘happy’ with results, despite her last minute disappointment:
Right at the end, I looked back and thought I had it, my first World Tour win but as I raised my fist in the air, Vos came past me. I was absolutely spent,
Obviously I am very very disappointed to miss out but it is still my best result. I haven’t had a World Tour podium before so I can be really happy with that.
— Mihai Cazacu (@faustocoppi60) July 7, 2019
Following her latest Giro Rosa victory, Vos has been bumped up to third in the general classification behind Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig in second and overall leader Katarzyna Niewiadoma, from Poland.
Taking to Twitter, Vos admitted she ‘felt happy, but sorry for Lucy Kennedy at the same time passing’.
Vos told The New Zealand Herald:
Lucy had a great attack and she had a good lead.
She was on the cobbles and there were only two lines we could take in between the cobbles, she was on the right side.
I was on the left and I had slightly more speed, so she put her arm in the air and I came around in the last five metres, so for her that was pretty sad. I told her not to do that again.
When you can't really believe what just happened in the last couple of meters…
Second stage win @girorosacycling in another tricky uphill finish.
Felt happy, but sorry for Lucy Kennedy at the same time passing… https://t.co/Sz26ufIAP7
— Marianne Vos (@marianne_vos) July 7, 2019
As reported by Bicycling magazine, Kennedy is a former triathlete and track and cross-country runner who began her professional cycling career with Mitchelton–Scott in 2018 after racing as part of the High5 Australian Development Team the year before.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.