Kiwi Linda Villumsen finishes fifth in road race
MARK GEENTY IN GLASGOW
A flat Linda Villumsen said she had nothing left to give as her bid for a Commonwealth Games golden double fell short in the women's road race.
Gold medallist in the time trial on Thursday, Villumsen finished fifth in a rain-soaked 98.1km race behind an England one-two of Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley. Villumsen rode a gutsy solo race and was still in the sprint for bronze entering the final straight at Glasgow Green but dropped off, as South Africa's Ashleigh Pasio pipped Australia's Tiffany Cromwell for bronze.
"It was too hard. I didn't have anything in the end. I got dropped so many times. I had one speed today and no acceleration," said a shivering Villumsen as the rain returned.
Crucially, Villumsen had to ride alone for the final 40km as none of her five New Zealand team-mates could go with the decisive break that featured seven riders including the two English women and Australians Cromwell and Gracie Elvin, along with Pasio and Scot Katie Archibald.
Joanne Kiesanowski was the next best New Zealander in ninth. She was meant to be the rider to go with Villumsen in a break but couldn't manage it.
There were other dramas for New Zealand when Emily Collins was 10th across the line after puncturing mid-race but was disqualified for receiving assistance from her team car, which didn't hear warnings from officials.
Rushlee Buchanan (14th), Reta Trotman (15th) and Jaime Nielsen (16th) were in the bunch more than 5min from the winner.
"I was hoping they [team-mates] were coming with me. I kept looking back and when two other riders came up I just prayed that someone would be in there," Villumsen said.
"But hard luck. I think they all saw it happen. You can see it happen and you want to go with it but it's just too difficult to get there."
Still it will be a Games Villumsen reflects on with pride after her immense performance to beat Pooley for gold in the time trial. "I'm happy with that. It would have been nice to see someone on the podium today but we'll get there."
Villumsen was in the mix for gold until the last 10km when the English pair sealed the major spoils in treacherous rain. Armitstead claimed gold by 25sec over Pooley who was in tears in the finish line in her final race before retirement.
Armitstead was clear favourite after winning silver at the London Olympics, and in Delhi four years ago.
Pooley did a great job for her team-mate and went for home with 10km remaining. Armitstead soon took over and established the winning break, as Villumsen, Cromwell and Pasio led the chase. But Villumsen felt flat and couldn't stay with it as the pressure went on.
The road race course took the scenic route through Glasgow's central city and riders had to be on their guard for their own safety as it twisted and turned through the 'Style Mile' across the slippery paved streets of Argyle St and Buchanan St.
The decisive break came just inside 40km from home when five riders, including Villumsen, shot away and were soon joined by two more. The gap soon stretched to 40 seconds, and with two laps of the 14km course remaining it had grown to 1min 20sec.