Williams second in Games Road race


Williams, 24, finished second in a five-rider sprint finish. She was beaten on the line by Australian ace Chloe Hosking. Another New Zealander, Sharlotte Lucas, was fourth.

For 3h 02min the field of 49 flogged themselves, climbing hills and covering breaks.

Pics Guy Swarbrick

Williams was always handy, but the dominating presence was the strong Australian squad, who seemed to control the race as they wanted.

Over the closing stages Williams shadowed Hosking and it paid off – she was given a good ride right to the finish line.

“I’m not normally a sprinter,” said Williams, the national road race champion. “With 2km to go I just wanted to hold my position. But with everyone cheering I knew I had to go after it and put everything into it.”

The New Zealander was quick to praise her team-mates, a factor in road racing that is sometimes overlooked by casual observers.

“Our team of girls made it easy for me. Rushlee especially was brilliant. The girls were great and gave me the best shot at a medal.”

She said the New Zealanders talked about the race beforehand and knew they had to counter the powerful Australians. “We had some plans and I think they worked well.”

The 112km race was split into six laps and going into the last lap there were five New Zealanders still in the lead bunch, with only Bryony Botha having dropped off. Williams tried to break away with 9km to go, though she was soon peeled in.

Villumsen and Lucas dropped off, but fought their way back to the lead bunch and Rowe worked with Williams as best she could.

After the lead bunch Villumsen crossed in 12th, 25 seconds behind, Kate McIlroy, who rode a steady race, was 19th, 1min 14s behind, and Buchanan, her job done, was 26th, 3min 22s behind. Botha did not finish.