Commonwealth Games - Cycling: Time trial gold for Millar

Wed, 13 Oct 11:35:00 2010

David Millar blasted his way into the record books by becoming Scotland's first ever road cycling gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

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Millar produced a lung-busting display to clinch road race bronze on Sunday but it is the time trial where his strengths really lie and he lived up to his favourite tag with a storming victory.

The winning margin was just a shade under 55 seconds as Millar, seeded first and therefore last out of the gate, crossed the line in 47 minutes and 18 seconds.

It also represents redemption for the 33-year-old Scot. As a result of his two-year drugs ban Millar required special dispensation to compete in Delhi.

And he more than made the most of his second chance to upgrade the silver medal he won at the World Road Race Championships in Geelong, Australia earlier this month.

Millar's talents have never been questioned. He is the only British rider to have worn all four Tour de France jerseys and he has won stages in all of pro cycling's Grand Tours.

Now he has Commonwealth Games gold to his name and with his doping conviction ensuring he will not be considered for London 2012 by the British Olympic Association, it does not get any better than that.

Silver went to England's Alex Dowsett, the under-23 European time trial champion, who completed the 40km course in 48:13 while Australia's Luke Durbridge completed the podium in third place.

England's Emma Pooley failed to add to Commonwealth Games gold to her World Championships title after illness curtailed her time trial bid in Delhi.

Pooley's quest was ultimately doomed from the outset as an untimely bout of Delhi belly, coupled with the unfavourable nature of the course, ensured she struggled home in ninth place.

Gold went to Canada's Tara Whitten, who won points race and omnium gold in the velodrome at the 2010 World Championships, while New Zealand's Linda Villumsen, who took bronze behind Pooley at the World Road Race Championships last month, upgraded to silver.

Pooley's teammate Julia Shaw, a 45-year-old time trial specialist, collected bronze while Northern Ireland's Wendy Houvenaghel, the individual pursuit Olympic silver medallist on the boards, was sixth.

"I didn't even know how well I was doing or where I finished," said Pooley. "I probably prefer a more technical course. I'm really pleased for Julia. It's a well deserved medal.

"Being in Delhi has been very similar to Beijing - it's been a big Games experience, and people have had the opportunity to get used to all the paraphernalia that goes with a big Games. So I think it's been a very good experience for all the young riders."

Victory for Whitten was far from easy and with Villumsen beginning her campaign just two places after her in the starting list, she was pushed all the way by her Kiwi rival.

But Whitten maintained her advantage in the closing stages of the 29km pan-flat course to seal gold in 38.59.20 minutes to take victory by 4.85 seconds and returns the title to Canadian hands after compatriot Clara Hughes topped the podium in Manchester in 2002.

And while there was disappointment for Pooley, who favours fast hillier courses, there was joy for veteran Shaw, who clocked a time of 39.09.52 to pip Australia's Alexis Rhodes to bronze.

"I did think about giving up last year, but my coach told me to keep going as I might have a chance here," said Shaw. "I'm glad I did as he asked.

"When we discovered the course out here was very flat we thought it might be a good time for me to try and get into the squad.

"I had no idea what to expect out here. As the race was happening I didn't really know how I was doing. I just tried to keep going."

More Than The Games / Eurosport

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