Aussies under fire over 'rubbish' act in Commonwealth Games furore

·4-min read
Georgia Baker and Sarah Roy, pictured here after winning gold and bronze in the women's road race at the Commonwealth Games.
Georgia Baker and Sarah Roy claimed gold and bronze in the women's road race at the Commonwealth Games. Image: Getty

English cyclist Anna Henderson has taken aim at Australia's 'boring' tactics in the women's road race at the Commonwealth Games after Georgia Baker won gold and fellow Aussie Sarah Roy claimed bronze.

Baker made history at the Birmingham Games on Sunday, becoming just the second Australian cyclist to win gold on the track and the road at the same Games.

It was the Aussie star's third gold medal of the Games after the team pursuit and points race on the track, helping her join the great Kathy Watt in achieving the rare track-road double.

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The Australian team were all smiles after they set up Baker perfectly for the sprint finish in the 112km race at Warwick, south of Birmingham.

"I'm pretty happy - it was a whole team effort and I'm just so proud I could pull it off for the team," said Baker, who rides on the road for the Australian BikeExchange-Jayco team.

"The girls led me out beautifully. The way Australian cycling is developing and moving forward, we should be able to do this more in the future."

However the Australian team's tactics of letting Baker get a sizeable lead and effectively blocking the rest of the field from gaining ground came under fire from their English rivals.

England's Anna Henderson, who tried in vain to break away from the peloton, later described the race as 'rubbish' and slammed Australia's 'boring' tactics.

"It was a rubbish race. The Australians had a really boring race plan," Henderson said.

“I thought, ‘you’re strong enough to win the race, and be in the break and win the sprint’, so why don’t you race in the race. I wanted it to be active because I knew it was a course for that.”

“The Australians just played it really boring, didn’t really make a show of it.”

Australia had several winning options and originally fellow sprinter Alex Manly was their protected rider.

Anna Henderson, pictured here during the women's time trial at the Commonwealth Games.
Anna Henderson in action during the women's time trial at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

But a change to the finish straight meant they committed to Baker, which was confirmed on the road with 20km left.

Despite Henderson's attack, the Australians were left celebrating a true team performance.

"We didn't have to worry about anyone in the team, we all could trust each other 100 per cent," Roy said after surging to a surprise bronze medal.

"It's exactly what you want in a team."

The Australians clearly had the strongest team, with time trial gold medallist Grace Brown and Brodie Chapman undertaking a mountain of work to ward off any attacks from rivals.

"We did a lot of welding, you and I, in the workshop," Chapman said to Brown at the finish.

Brown and Roy paid credit to Henderson, who won silver in the time trial earlier in the Games.

Unaware of Henderson's criticism, Chapman said: "Anna was insanely strong ... she definitely put the sting in everyone's legs today."

Neah Evans, Georgia Baker and Sarah Roy, pictured here with their medals after the women's road race at the Commonwealth Games.
Neah Evans, Georgia Baker and Sarah Roy pose with their medals after the women's road race at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Australia wins seven more gold for 1000 all time

Baker's gold medal was the first of seven that Australia won on the penultimate day of action in Birmingham, taking their overall tally to 1000 in Commonwealth Games history.

Australia started Sunday on 59 golds at the Birmingham Games, and the netball team's 55-51 win in the final over Jamaica was the seventh for the day.

There was gold in the men's beach volleyball for Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett, as well as the women's all-conquering T20 cricket team.

Cassiel Rousseau and Maddison Keeney also triumphed in the diving, while Kelsey-Lee Barber backed up her gold medal at the recent world championships by claiming the javelin title in Birmingham.

with AAP

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