An English cyclist has slammed Australia’s tactics as “really boring” after Georgia Baker won gold in the Commonwealth Games women’s road race.
Baker’s fellow Aussies Sarah Roy also claimed bronze in a sprint finish to the largely anticlimactic 112km race as Scotland’s Neah Evans split the pair for silver.
The race was set up for Baker, who commentators said was largely unsighted for much of the event as her countrywomen did the hard yards to get her in the right position to attack at the death.
And they executed flawlessly for Baker to sprint towards the gold medal.
Five of the six Aussies crossed the line within 11 seconds of Baker, while Brodie Chapman was just another 11 seconds further back.
However, English rider Anna Henderson was left fuming because Australia controlled the race, foiling attempts to make a break and ensuring it would be a sprint to the finish.
Henderson tried several breaks throughout the day but was quickly swallowed by the pack as the Australians played up to their sprint advantage.
“It was a rubbish race. The Australians had a really boring race plan,” Henderson said.
“I thought, ‘You’re strong enough to win the race, and be in the break and win the sprint’ so why don’t you race in the race. I wanted it to be active because I knew it was a course for that.
“The Australians just played it really boring, didn’t really make a show of it.
“As a rider like me sometimes you’re going to get marked out. We made a break but unfortunately it came back. I was a bit disappointed today.
“We could have raced it better today, but the young girls did well in the sprint.”
Henderson, who had earlier won silver in the time trial behind Aussie Grace Brown and was a favourite in the road race, finished 24th.
England has won just the one women’s road race, back at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Baker was full of praise for her team as the plan throughout was to lead her to gold.
“This one is extra special,” said the 27-year-old, who won gold on the track in the 25km points race and team pursuit earlier in the Games.
“It was a real team effort. I wish I could split this medal into six. It was real credit to the team and I’m glad I could pull it off for them.
“The girls did an amazing job covering all the moves.
“For them to nail the final lead out made my ride so easy. I finished with fresh legs and that was the goal. I did the sprint and got my hands across the line.
“If it was going to be a bunch sprint I would be sprinting; if it was going to be an aggressive and hard race where the other nations were going to make it super hard, then potentially Alex (Manly) would be sprinting.
“We made the call out there with about 20km to go and I was feeling good, so we stuck to the plan and the girls led me out beautifully.”
Australia has been the dominant force in the women’s road race at the Commonwealth Games, winning six gold, a silver and four bronze in the nine runnings of the event.
New Zealand cyclist Aaron Gate won the men’s road race to collect his fourth gold medal of the Commonwealth Games ahead of South Africa’s Daryl Impey in silver and Scotland’s Finn Crockett in bronze.