Saturday, October 9, 2010

Armitstead wins road race silver

Venue: Delhi, India Dates: 3-14 October 2010 Coverage: Comprehensive live coverage across BBC TV, radio, online, BBC Red Button, mobile and BBC iPlayer services. Find full coverage details here. And a full schedule of events here.

Elizabeth Armitstead
Armitstead split the Australian par of Gilmore and Hosking

Lizzie Armitstead took Commonwealth Games silver for England in the women's road race, which was won by Australia's Rochelle Gilmore in a sprint finish.

Gilmore's team-mate Chloe Hosking won the bronze medal after an enthralling 12-kilometre race in Delhi.

But Wales' Olympic champion Nicole Cooke had to settle for fifth after being squeezed out in the final yards.

"I struggled with the heat. It was like riding in a hair dryer, but it was the same for everyone," said Armitstead.

Armitstead admitted to being disappointed at not taking the gold but vowed to return stronger for the Olympics in 2012.

"I just felt like I let the girls down a little bit," said Armitstead.

"They did a really good job today.

"It was our first try at a lead out and they had to do a little bit too much too soon and I waited a little bit. I hesitated, because I wanted the job to get done right until the line.

"I should have made the split decision to get on a wheel instead because they'd just done too much.

"They did a perfect job, we could have just done with the line being a bit closer.

"But for our first attempt as a team - we've not even tried it in training - I'm really impressed and I think we can only get better. Come London we should be a forced to be reckoned with."

Only 37 of the 59 cyclists completed a gruelling race which went through the centre of the city, passing notable landmarks such as the President's Palace, Parliament House and Connaught Place shopping centre.

But the streets were bereft of spectators because the roads surrounding the course were closed by police for security reasons.

"It was good to get the big win - I'm extremely happy," said Gilmore.

"Everything just went to plan because our team went to plan, everyone was on fire on the day and we managed to control it."

Kara Chesworth of Wales led for the first of eight laps in a race overshadowed early on by crashes. Angharad Mason of Wales came off her bike in a nasty fall while England's Sharon Laws crashed into a barrier on a hairpin left-hand corner.

Armitstead's right foot also collided with a barrier in the final 3km, but she did not believe it impacted on her performance in the latter stages.

"One of the cardboard things that goes on top of the barrier flew out into me.

"I just escaped a crash, but I smacked my little toe and it's pretty blue and swollen.

"I simply made a wrong decision at the finish. I think I had the legs, but never mind."

Cooke - the pre-race favourite - had an uphill task to repeat her Commonwealth Games victory of 2002 after being left to challenge the Australian and English teams without support after all of her team-mates dropped out during the race.

The field began to thin out with the business end of the pack looking considerably smaller by the 84km mark and the pace dropped going into the last lap.

Canada's Anne Samplonius came through in front with half a lap left, with the English contingent getting organised to let Emma Pooley go in the last 6km.

But they got their tactics wrong with Pooley hitting the front too early and Gilmore, who had managed to ride eight laps virtually unnoticed, came through in the last 100m.

The Isle of Man's Mark Cavendish is among the medal favourites in the men's race at 0830 BST.

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