Torrential rain and hailstones – and an unforseen mechanical problem 10km from the finish – conspired to derail the Australian women’s road race campaign today.
Queenslander Shara Gillow was our best finisher in 39th spot, 1min53sec behind winner, Marianne Vos, of the Netherlands, while national road champion Amanda Spratt and Canberra’s Chloe Hosking finished outside the allowable time limit, and were not allocated a finishing position.
Gillow looked well placed to feature prominently when she dropped her chain about 10km from the finish – and that ended her chances.
Spratt, 24, who was making her Games debut, said the thunderstorm which struck about half an hour before the 12pm start had thwarted pre-race plans.
The incessant rain throughout the 140km event made conditions treacherous – and riders also had to overcome hailstones.
“The race ended up being a lot harder than we had envisaged, and there were a combination of factors why we didn’t perform as we would have liked,” Pratt said.
Vos, the pre-race favourite, was involved in a breakaway with Great Britain’s Elizabeth Armitstead and Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya with about 20km remaining and quickly established a lead of 40sec.
In a three-way sprint, Vos easily accounted for Armitstead, with Zabelinskaya coming in two seconds adrift, and the peloton, led home by Germany’s Ina Tutenberg, was a further 27sec. behind.