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Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games
Manchester, England, July 27 - August 3, 2002
August 3 - Men's Road Race, Rivington, 187 km
O'Grady leads the Aussie 1-2-3 charge
By Gerry McManus, Cyclingnews correspondent in Rivington
It was definitely a race of two halves when on the second lap; Scotland's Duncan Urquhart attempted what looked like a suicidal break. When he was joined by first Mark Lovatt (England) and then the duo of Tommy Evans (Northern Ireland) and Gordon McCauley (NZL) it took a different shape.
McCauley, Evans and Lovatt have raced many times together in the British Premier series calendar in the UK and the quartet got down to slick changes and equal workloads. Behind the breakaway was a bunch lead out by six Australians.
The lead fluctuated and was up to 2:20 at its highest with all parties sharing the work and with four nations represented, it was up to Australia to bring it back and after 56 miles they did just that and that's when the explosion started.
The break was caught at the bottom of the climb made up in three steps with the middle being the steepest at 1-in-6. The whole team put the hammer down and the damage behind saw riders strewn all over the road. Eight riders emerged in the new lead group. Michael Rogers, Cadel Evans, Stuart O'Grady and Baden Cooke were the Australian contingent with Glen Mitchell (New Zealand), David George and Robert Hunter (RSA) and Eric Wohlberg (Canada).
The chase group was lead by David McCann (Northern Ireland) with little help from teams with riders in the front group. The powerful Belfast lad was looking good until he broke a chain and was forced to retire. It was this first such incident that the Volksbank-Ideal has had in his entire career.
Surprise inclusion in the break was Glen Mitchell (NZL) who rides for the Navigators team in the U.S as a team rider and now he had the chance to do a ride for himself. He was in an elite group that included a former world champion on the track with O'Grady and double world cup MTB winner Evans.
Again the chasing group contained many passengers and few workers. Roger Hammond (England) was frequently on the front. As the furious pace at the front continued, Michael Rogers dropped back to the chase group to leave seven in front, and after three and a quarter hours of racing, the lead was steady at 48 seconds between the two groups.
Four laps to go and it was 1.17 with the chase group fragmenting and finally Hammond lost patience with the lack of support and he escaped with Michael Barry (Canada), apparently after convincing him that they were in medal chance if they could cross the one minute gap.
At the front, Stuart O'Grady simply rode away on his own on the climb with his teammates policing every attempt by Wohlberg, Mitchell and Hunter to bring him back. After Hammond and Barry got across, Cadel Evans took off on the final lap, and showed again his time trailing ability that won him the gold on the previous Saturday.
Evans was on course for silver, as Glenn Mitchell gave chase with the last of the Australians, Baden Cooke sitting ominously on his wheel. Mitchell couldn't close the gap to Evans, who crossed the line 2'08 behind the jubilant O'Grady, who won the title he had been chasing for the last eight years. Baden Cooke easily outsprinted Mitchell for third place, and it was gold, silver and bronze to the Australians, the first time ever that one country has dominated the road race.
Roger Hammond's dogged persistence gained him eighth spot although he had no answer to Evans' attack just after he made contact. Other rides of note include Tommy Evans' 12th spot after he continued to ride well after his two-hour breakaway ride.
O'Grady was delighted with his victory:
"It's my first win of the season," he said: "It's been an up and down year, missing he first part of the season preparing for the Tour De France. That didn't go quite as well as we hoped, so this was a very important stepping stone for myself and for Australia. It was very hard convincing the European trade teams to let us come over. The Commonwealth games mean a hell of a lot to me."
Images by D.J. Clark
1 Stuart O'Grady (Australia) 4.43.17 (39.646 km/h) 2 Cadel Evans (Australia) 2.08 3 Baden Cooke (Australia) 2.28 4 Glen Mitchell (New Zealand) 5 Eric Wohlberg (Canada) 2.47 6 Hayden Roulston (New Zealand) 2.52 7 Robert Hunter (South Africa) 3.01 8 Roger Hammond (England) 3.02 9 Michael Barry (Canada) 10 David George (South Africa) 3.14 11 Mark Walters (Canada) 5.59 12 Tommy Evans (Northern Ireland) 9.35 13 Yanto Barker (Wales) 9.36 14 Ryan Russell (New Zealand) 10.17 15 Anthony Malarczyk (Wales) 16 Duncan Urquhart (Scotland) 10.56 17 Karl Moore (New Zealand) 11.27 18 John Tanner (England) 19 Denis Easton (Northern Ireland) 11.53 20 Emile Abraham (Trinidad & Tobago) 11.55 21 Mark Lovatt (England) 11.56 22 Julian Winn (Wales) 23 Stephen Gallagher (Northern Ireland) 11.56 24 Malcolm Lange (South Africa) 11.57 25 Kashi Leuchs (New Zealand) 11.58 26 Daniel Spence (South Africa) 12.03 27 Nicholas Patrick White (South Africa) 28 Charles Wegelius (England) 12.29 29 Mannie Heymans (Namibia) 14.03 30 David Gardiner (Northern Ireland) 14.47 31 James Griffiths (Wales) 32 Andrew Roche (Isle of Man) 33 Gordon Mccauley (New Zealand) DNF Barron Archiebold Musgrove (Bahamas) DNF Jonathan David Massie (Bahamas) DNF Stuart Dangerfield (England) DNF Nathan O'neill (Australia) DNF Michael Rogers (Australia) DNF Johnny Hoyte (Bahamas) DNF Max Sciandri (England) DNF Randy Simon (Antigua & Barbuda) DNF Jeffery Zelaya (Belize) DNF Rory Gonsalves (Antigua & Barbuda) DNF Andrew Smiling (Belize) DNF Ernest Meighan (Belize) DNF Mateo Cruz (Belize) DNF Kris Hedges (Bermuda) DNF Horace Mcfarlane (Jamaica) DNF Cleveland Sharpe (Jamaica) DNF Charles Bryan (Anguilla) DNF Ronnie Bryan (Anguilla) DNF Kris Pradel (Anguilla) DNF Erik Hoffmann (Namibia) DNF Andy Rose (Seychelles) DNF Jason Macintyre (Scotland) DNF Serge Pitouo (Cameroon) DNF Francois Talla (Cameroon) DNF Sydney Charles (St. Lucia) DNF Sammy Joseph (St. Lucia) DNF Marc Bassingthwaighte (Namibia) DNF Graeme Hatcher (Isle of Man) DNF Elliot Baxter (Isle of Man) DNF Mark Kelly (Isle of Man) DNF Mamudou Bah (The Gambia) DNF Eliman Jammeh (The Gambia) DNF Ross Muir (Scotland) DNF Gordon Fraser (Canada) DNF David Ngugi Mwangi (Kenya) DNF Arthur Kamau Kungu (Kenya) DNF George Ochieng Onaye (Kenya) DNF Stephen Mangroo (Trinidad & Tobago) DNF Steve Millington (Bermuda) DNF Chris Spence (Jersey) DNF Maimba Malako (Zambia) DNF Bruce Nkhoma (Zambia) DNF Ken Jackson (Antigua & Barbuda) DNF Martinien Tega (Cameroon) DNF Brendan Doherty (Northern Ireland) DNF David Mccann (Northern Ireland) DNF Hudson Mathieu (Seychelles) DNF David Kinja Njau (Kenya) DNF Geri Mewett (Bermuda) DNF James Perry (South Africa) DNF Luke Roberts (Australia) DNS Herve Simo (Cameroon) DNS Paul Sheppard (Wales) DNS Huw Pritchard (Wales)