Australia’s Rochelle Gilmore sprinted home to win the gold medal in the women’s road race at the Commonwealth Games, despite a late surge for the line by England’s Lizzie Armitstead.
The 112-kilometre race, held on a completely flat course in Delhi, resembled a criterium. There was barely a breakaway of note in almost three hours of racing and it was clear from early on that a sprint was inevitable.
However, the New Zealand squad did their best to try to avoid a bunch sprint and were by far the most attacking team in the race. Linda Villumsen tried several times to get away but she was always marked by the Australians, who wanted to set it up for Gilmore.
On the penultimate lap, Villumsen broke away and was marked by Victoria Whitelaw in Aussie gold and green. Whitelaw let Villumsen do the bulk of the work and the move was shortlived, with England’s Emma Pooley pulling the bunch back across.
Pooley did a lot of work on the front too, trying to keep it together for their sprinter Armitstead.
The Kiwis didn’t give up, though. On the last lap Catherine Cheatley tried twice to get away, the second time inside the final two kilometres.
But the Australians pulled it back together and gave Gilmore the perfect lead-out.
Nicole Cooke, Commonwealth Games champion in Manchester eight years ago, was in a good position to capitalise on the Australians’ work.
But as she faded, Armitstead tried to get on terms with Gilmore but had left her run at the line a little late.
Armitstead got England’s third silver medal in cycling at these games. Australia’s Chloe Hosking took bronze. Cooke was fifth.
1. Rochelle Gilmore (Australia) 112km in 2-49-30
2. Lizzie Armitstead (England)
3. Chloe Hosking (Australia)
4. Joanne Kiesanowski (New Zealand)
5. Nicole Cooke (Wales)
6. Joelle Numainville (Canada)
7. Tara Whitten (Canada)
8. Carla Swart (South Africa)
9. Melissa Holt (New Zealand)
10. Cherise Taylor (South Africa) all same time