Posted by Editoress on 10/13/10
After three bronze medals on the track at the Commonwealth Games, Canada's Tara Whitten crowned her competition in Delhi with a gold medal.
On a day when the temperature on the pavement was over 40 degrees, Whitten captured first place in the final road event, the 29 kilometre individual time trial. On such a hot day, at her first major Games, Whitten reserved enough energy to win the event against a competitive field.
"I wondered about energy and the heat," said Whitten. "All riders worked hard with ice towels, ice vests and ice chairs to keep our core temperatures down."
When the race began, Whitten started with ice on her back to help keep her cool. At the 10 kilometre mark of the 29 kilometre race, Whitten's time was 11:20. At the 19 kilometre point, her time was 23:55 and she finished the race with a time of 30:59.3, five seconds faster than her closest competition.
Whitten knew that after competing in five cycling events in Delhi, if she was going to give her all, today was the day.
"I was excited that it would be my last event," said Whitten during media scrums following the race. "I wanted to give my all; this is the event I have been training hardest for."
Whitten won the gold medal with New Zealand's Linda Villumsen capturing silver and England's Julia Shaw winning bronze. World champion Emma Pooley of England could only manage 9th, after falling ill prior to the event.
Whitten's average speed for the race was 44.628 km/hour. Throughout the race, she said she felt good, but was not sure if her time was ahead.
"It was hard to tell because we don't have radios anymore," said the gold medallist. "Because they are phasing the radios out, it is just you and the road."
"It has been really busy and challenging here in Delhi," said Whitten after completing her sixth race to win gold. "I guess I saved the best for last."
Also competing today in the time trial events were Erinne Willock who placed 11th, and Canadian national champion Julie Beveridge who placed 13th. For the men, the individual time trial distance was 40 kilometres. Zach Bell was the top Canadian in seventh, and Ryan Roth finished tenth.
Canadian cyclists finished the Games with five medals - bronze for Whitten in the Points Race, Individual Pursuit and a shared bronze with Monique Sullivan in the Team Sprint, plus gold in the Individual Time Trial, and a bronze medal for Zach Bell in the Scratch Race.
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