Australian cycling tactics blasted by England's Anna Henderson after Georgia Baker's Commonwealth Games gold medal

Australian cycling tactics blasted by England’s Anna Henderson after Georgia Baker’s Commonwealth Games gold medal

An English cyclist beaten to gold by an Australian in the Commonwealth Games time trial has taken aim after losing out again in a “rubbish” road race won by “boring” Aussie tactics.

Three days after finishing runner-up to Grace Brown, Anna Henderson finished 24th as Georgia Baker took gold in Sunday’s 112km contest.

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Baker and fellow Australian Sarah Roy, who won bronze, immediately posed for celebratory photos with teammates Brown, Alexandra Manly, Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Brodie Chapman.

But while several riders from other nations congratulated Baker and Roy, others were far from impressed.

Henderson vowed to be active and launched a series of attacks in the race – only to be continually threatened by Brown and Brodie Chapman, and her frustration showed afterwards.

“It was a rubbish race. The Australians had a really boring race plan,” the 23-year-old said.

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

“As a rider like me sometimes you’re going to get marked out. We made a break but unfortunately it came back. I was a bit disappointed today.”

Chapman was unaware of Henderson’s criticism when she took the high road and credited the Englishwoman for her challenges.

“Anna was insanely strong,” the 31-year-old Aussie said.

“She definitely put the sting in everyone’s legs today.”

Australia’s tactics may have been ruthless but they were also faultless, providing Baker with the opportunity to win her third gold medal at Birmingham 2022 following two victories inside the velodrome.

She joins the great Kathy Watt as the only Australians to win gold on the road and track at the same Commonwealth Games.

Baker, Manly, Roy, Brown, Roseman-Gannon and Chapman won as a team. Credit: Alex Whitehead/AAP

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“I’m pretty happy – it was a whole team effort and I’m just so proud I could pull it off for the team,” Baker said.

“The girls led me out beautifully.”

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

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

“The way Australian cycling is developing and moving forward, we should be able to do this more in the future,” said Baker, who rides on the road for the Australian BikeExchange-Jayco team.

Australia’s ruthless tactics were also faultless, putting two riders on the podium. Credit: David Davis/AP

Roy’s bronze was a satisfying turn after finishing fourth in her only track event last week.

The 36-year-old, like Baker, was more than happy to benefit from the Australian group’s teamwork.

“We didn’t have to worry about anyone in the team, we all could trust each other 100 per cent,” Roy said.

“It’s exactly what you want in a team.”

– with APA

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