Commonwealth Games Road Race
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Video action from Lap 3 - click here
58.4 miles (93.5km) - 8 laps
09:00 hrs - Saturday 3 August
The race took place on a mild, but foggy morning. The first two laps were covered relatively slowly. Everyone was together & looked comfortable. Lap times were about 20 minutes for the 7.3miles circuit at this stage. Guernsey's Ann Bowditch was amongst those at the front over the climb for the second lap. Bermuda's Melanie Claude and Julia Hawley, as well as Malaysia's Hsu Min Chung were strong in the bunch on the third climb.
The fourth lap was faster - covered in 19min47secs. Everyone was still together, however, except for Hsu Min Chung, who unshipped her chain at the foot of the main climb and was chasing back.
By the fifth lap, the sun had appeared and the riders were beginning to speed up - they came back around the circuit to the climb in 18min46secs - 3 groups had formed. The main contestants were from Australia, New Zealand & Canada, with a solitary English rider. Chasers were Welsh & English with Melanie Claude from Bermuda also holding her own. The third group contained Ann Bowditch, Julia Hawley and just off the back were Scotland's Jo Cavill & Katrina Hair.
One minute down was Caroline Cook (Scotland) & 2 minutes down, Sharon Watterson (Isle of Mann). Chung was still chasing further off the back, she was to retire next time through the start/finish area.
At the beginning of the 6th lap, a group of 5 were 42secs clear. Rachel Heal & FrancesNewstead (both England), Genevieve Jeanson (Canada), Caroline Alexander (Scotland) and Roz Reekie-May (New Zealand).
Within half a lap at 1.5laps to go, the five had been joined by 2 others and the following were about 35seconds clear:
Jeanson (Can), Holt (NZ), Reekie-May (NZ), Rutherford (Aus), Cooke (Wal), Alexander (Sco), Newstead (Eng), Heal (Eng), Millward (Aus), Hemsley (Aus), Tadich (Aus), Bessette (Can)
The bunch followed through 35sec down. The front of which was led through by Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders obviously working to slow the bunch and assist the break to gain further time. This strategy worked well the 6th lap was slower 19minutes 30seconds, compared to the middle laps which had been consistently around 18minutes30seconds. However, by the foot of the climb on the 7th lap a group of 4 managed to gain 15seconds on a chase group by the foot of the climb. They were :
Jeanson (Can), Heal (Eng) Hemsley (Aus), Reekie-May (NZ)
The chasers were Bessette, Rutherford, Alexander, N Cooke, Millward, five New Zealanders and an English rider Mel Sears. However, disaster struck Margeret Hemsley (Australia) on the sharp right hand turn after the descent. She fell heavily, leaving three away. But to her credit, she continued for another complete lap. Her helmet was damaged pieces were hanging off it, her clothing torn and, as is now known, she had broken her collarbone. Her Commonwealth Games were over, but her final lap one of courage cheered and appreciated by the spectators all the way around the course.
the final lap, the three were 4minutes 23seconds ahead of the main bunch,
although they were chased by a group of seven for a while, before all the
chasers came back together and the bunch reformed. Nina Davies (Wales), Sally
Ashbridge (Scotland), Rachel Heal (England), Hayley Rutherford (Australia),
Lynne Bessette (Canada) were all there. Although Frances Newstead and Anna
Milward were sliding backwards as their prevous efforts doubtless caught up with
them although by the last 2km, these two were chasing so hard that that they
threatened to catch the leaders as they played out sprinting tactics on the way
in to the line. Tadich (Aus) and Holt (NZ) were even further back their job
done. The Commonwealth Games Road Race was going to come down to a sprint,
despite Caroline Alexanders attempts to go off the front on the way into
As they entered Rivington. the chasers had been caught Rachel Heal had worked hard to bridge the gap. Heal, N Cooke, Rutherford, Susan Palmer-Komar (Can) Bessette, and Alexander were there. Riders and spectators alike were beginning to think about the sprint when Nicole Cooke took the bend to fast, had to avoid hitting a wall. She chased hard to regain contact with the group with just over 2km to go.
Caroline Alexander, who had been at the back of the group just seconds earlier, sprinted off the front, she was matched by Rachel Heal and the others. Alexander went again with 500m to go, following Palmer-Komars attempt to go for it. But Nicole Cooke was too strong she went through and took the line clear of the others. Palmer-Kovar was second and Rachel Heal third.
1. Nicole Cooke (Wal) 2:35:17
2. Susan Palmer-Komar (Can) @ 1 sec
3. Rachel Heal (Eng)
4. Hayley Rutherford (Aus)
5. Roz Reekie-May (Nzl)
6. Caroline Alexander (Sco)
7. Lyne Bessette (Can) @ 2 secs
8. Frances Newstead (Eng) @ 26secs
9. Anna Millward (Aus) @ 140sec
10. Liz Tadich (Aus) @ 348sec
11. Melissa Holt (Nzl)
12. Margaret Hemsley (Aus) @ 351sec
13. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) @ 729sec
14. Emma Davies (Eng)
15. Erin Carter (Can)
16. Ann Bowditch (Gue) @ 730sec
17. Mel Sears (Eng)
18. Vanessa Guyton (Nzl)
19. Sally Ashbridge (Sco)
20. Clara Hughes (Can)
21. Sara Carrigan (Aus)
22. Nina Davies (Wal)
23. Kirsty Robb (Nzl)
24. Julia Hawley (Ber)
25. Melanie Claude (Ber)
26. Sara Symington (Eng)
27. Penny Edwards (Wal)
28. Sue Carter (Eng)
29. Sarah Ulmer (Nzl) @ 731sec
30. Jacqui Fletcher (IoM) @ 732sec
31. Joanne Cavill Sco) @ 857sec
32. Katrina Hair (Sco)
33. Caroline Cook (Sco) @ 1552sec34. Sharon Watterson (IoM) @ 1701sec
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