Australian focussing on Worlds after being pipped to bronze
Tiffany Cromwell (Australia) could hardly have come closer to taking a medal at the Commonwealth Games without actually winning it. It was the width of a tyre, perhaps less, that separated the Australian from taking home a bronze medal in the road race.
Cromwell started her sprint a moment too late and ran out of road, as she attempted to pass Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio in the sprint for third. The wait to know who had taken the medal was agonising, with neither sure who had done it. "The finish line came quicker than expected. It was so close and she even thought that I rolled her," Cromwell explained at the finish.
"I was feeling really good today and Gracie [Elvin] was feeling good as well and the plan was to leave us until late. I think we can be proud with how we raced, but it's a shame that we couldn't come away with a medal. It's frustrating being so close, but I think that we can be happy with the way that we raced."
Australia took an aggressive approach to the race, sending riders off the front in the early laps. The primary aim was to rid the peloton of as many riders as possible and, more specifically, the English. Lizzie Armitstead was the main contender and they would need to isolate her if they wanted to be sure of success. Every time the Australian's went, the English would follow, making for a high rate of attrition.
"Our aim was to make it tough. We wanted to make it aggressive we wanted England to always be on the back foot chasing," said Cromwell. "That side worked and it whittled down so we were pretty even on numbers… the girls did an amazing job. We backed each other and we did cancel each other out in terms of the English versus us, because they clearly had the same plan and we had to be patient."
The team arrived with a number of options depending on how the race panned out, but it would be Cromwell and Gracie Elvin that would shoulder much of the team's ambition. Both riders made it into the successful move that was initiated by Emma Pooley (England). The roles were reversed, with England making the digs off the front and Australia being forced to do the chasing. Between Elvin and Cromwell, they managed to keep tabs on the two English riders but a crucial error saw them fighting for the final step on the podium rather than gold.
"The only bit where we messed up was when we let Pooley go. Gracie and I didn't react quick enough, so we were put on the back foot and then Lizzie was able to attack," said Cromwell. "I like those punchy climbs and every lap I felt good on the climbs, but when Lizzie went I just didn't have the explosiveness that have had. It's tough with the conditions, with the wheels slipping."
A medal at the Commonwealth Games would have been a perfect way to get Cromwell's season back on track after slipping out of form mid-season. After missing out, however, she now looks to the Worlds where she hopes that Australia can enjoy some better luck.
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