|Vos, seen here in the pink jersey, slender but lacking the|
power to dominate in the mountains
(© Eddy Fever CC2.0)
Hence we were eager to have a look at her form in the cyclo cross races over the weekend just passed in the hope of finding early indications- for those who are unaware, there were two major events; one at Koksijde (where she came second) and one at Gieten (which she won) - and the status report is: OMG.
Vos is looking better than ever. We suspect she's perhaps added a kilo or two from her weight at the beginning of the 2011 road racing season, when she was 58kg (at 1.68m tall), but it's a kilo or two of sculpted, toned muscle - very much what one might expect of a rider who is mindful of the fact that Emma Pooley was better than ever in the mountains throughout the last year and wants to make sure she can catch her in 2012.
Compare, if you will, the following images: Vos in 2010 (c/o CyclePhotos) and Vos on 27/11/11 (again c/o of CyclePhotos). Excellent form in both, but it's obvious even with the long sleeves that in the older image she has far lower muscle mass. In the newer image, her upper arms and calves look like they've been carved from oak - which means greater strength in the places that creates a powerful climber, but not where it creates extra weight that needs to be hauled up without contribution on the way.
If she keeps this form for next season - and Vos is a woman who rides because she loves to do so as much as the drive to win, meaning she'll be likely to get out on bike every chance she gets no matter what the weather does between now and then, so it's pretty much guaranteed that she will - and if the new Rabobank-backed women's team works as well for her as it potentially could do, then it looks a pretty safe bet that she's going to have yet another "best year so far" in 2012. We'll be cheering her all the way.
Vos interviewed (in Dutch) after Koksijde. Look at the cheekbones - honed!