Kiesenhofer in action at the 2019 UCI Cycling World Road ChampionshipsSum_of_Marc/Flickr

Anna Kiesenhofer took gold for Austria in the Women’s Road Race in Tokyo earlier today (25/07), beating Dutch favourite Annemiek van Vleuten and Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini to top the podium.

During her year at Cambridge, Kiesenhofer struck a perfect balance between academic performance and cycling success, wrapping up the summer of 2012 with a master’s degree in mathematics and triumph in the road Varsity match. Meanwhile, supremacy in the saddle wasn’t quite enough for Kiesenhofer, as she laced up her running shoes for Cambridge University Triathlon Club in the Varsity Duathlon Championships 2012.


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Kiesenhofer’s Tokyo win came as a surprise to most spectators, given that it was her Olympic Games debut and had previously ranked 44th at the Imola World Championships in September last year. Ironically, it was around the 44-kilometre mark that Kiesenhofer prepped her attack on the gold medal, breaking away from the group to stage a solo endeavour. Crossing the finish line with a lengthy lead on van Vleuten, the Austrian cyclist fell to the floor in jubilation, as she reveled in her Olympic moment.

Speaking after the race, Kiesenhofer described the physical toll of her effort: “I have never emptied myself so much in my whole life. I could hardly pedal any more. It felt like there was zero energy in my legs”. Team GB’s Lizzie Deignan, who finished 11th, dubbed Kiesenhofer “a surprise winner”. This result makes her the first Austrian to win an Olympic road race medal, alongside bagging the nation’s first gold from the Summer Games since 2004.

Varsity congratulates Anna on her historical achievement.