Australian women's team overcame high expectations to win gold at Delhi 2010 Women's cycling competition where bikers raced across scenic empty streets.
Rochelle Gilmore of Australia won the race in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 30 seconds beating Elizabeth Armistead of England who in turn snatched the silver from Gilmore's teammate Chloe Hosking who came in third place in the morning race staged over eight laps of a 14-km course.
The race was conducted in a fenced off and barricaded course had elaborate security including heli-borne assault teams, commando hit teams and quick reaction teams provinding athletes foolproof security. "It was a lot of pressure. There was a lot of positive energy, yes, but pressure that was on the road team to win a gold medal was pretty intense to live up to expectations of the track team. There had been lot of chances for the track team to win gold but we had only one chance for a gold medal. So the pressure was really on," said Gilmore. However, the cyclist credited her entire team for the win.
"We had a very strong team, everybody worked well together and everyone gave their 100 per cent to the gold medal today," she said. Gilmore, who came in second in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, said it was a relief to finally win the race. "It is big sense of relief. A lot of hardwork on my part, a lot of sacrifice went in to winning this race. I created my own pressure because I trained for this race every single day for the last year," said the winner. Moreover, Gilmore said the day for her was the best even though the team was supporting fellow cyclist Hosking, who bagged the bronze medal.
The Australian said, "For the last year, I have been concentrating on winning this race. But within the last 48 hours, the Australian national head coach had decided that the team will support Hosking, another sprinter. "His plan was to confuse athletes from other counties a little bit who were expecting the team to support me." Gilmore also said that the final 200 metres were very crucial for the win. "It was only an opportunity in the last 200 metres for me
to take on the lead role probably because it wasn't her (Hosking) best day today. I took over the role of winning the race today," said the cyclist.
Meanwhile Gilmore also said the course set for the race was one of the best. She said, "I am a sprinter, so the course is perfect for me. I really liked the course. Some people would think it is boring but it is the best course I could possibly ask for. There are a lot of corners, I think there was a lot of energy in the corners. I really enjoyed them. I couldn't ask for a more favourable course."
The course set for the 112km race started from Parliament Street, went through Vijay Chowk, India Gate and Connaught Place before ending at the place it began. Gilmore said she did not really mind a lack of spectators.
"I think it was for the best. There is a lot of people all around the world watching it on TV. So the few spectators on the side of the road was better for the security," said Gilmore.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images