O’Grady leads Australia to clean sweep on the road
03 August 2002
Australia continue their dominance of all things cycling with a 1-2-3 in the road race at Rivington.
Another example of Australian pedal power
Stuart O’Grady led Cadel Evans and Baden Cooke to Australia’s third clean sweep of the cycling medals in the men’s road race on 3 August.
O’Grady won the 187.2 km race after a gutsy breakaway from the leading group of eight riders on lap 13 of 16.
The Australians raced as a team, intent on securing gold at the risk of the other two medals.
They let four breakaway riders have their time up front from lap three, before easily reeling in their one-minute lead from the front of the Peloton within 10 minutes at the start of lap ten.
Minutes later, O’Grady led a breakaway and was joined by Canada’s Eric Wohlberg, David George and Robert Hunter from South Africa, New Zealand’s Glen Mitchell, plus Evans and Cooke.
After discussion with his team-mates, O’Grady made a solo breakaway on lap 13 and was never properly challenged.
This left the Tour de France rider with some 40km of steep hills and fast descents to take on single-handed. His team-mates tactically stayed with the chasing pack to defend the gold medal for Australia as O’Grady sprinted away.
His 16-second lead at the beginning of lap 14 grew to 1:07 by the start of lap 15.
He pushed even harder on the penultimate 11.7km lap to open up a comfortable 2:46 advantage for the charge to the finish.
While he briefly looked concerned and prompted the commissaires for the time to his pursuers on the last climb of the race, his lead was safe and he crossed the finish line after 4:43:17 to collect gold for Australia.
Evans meanwhile made his break from the chasing pack on the final climb of the last lap, taking silver two minutes and eight seconds behind O’Grady.
Mitchell and Cooke escaped soon after. Cooke followed Mitchell until the home straight, making sure Evans had clinched silver, before making his own dash for bronze in sight of the line.
Info News Service/nc/jdc