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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK

Australia ride to magnificent treble

By Bruce Pope
BBC Sport Online in Rivington

Australia produced a superb treble in the men's road time trial at Rivington on Saturday, taking gold, silver and bronze.

Cadel Evans led the way with a powerful, brilliant ride to take first place in a time of one hour and 53 seconds, with Michael Rogers almost two minutes further back, and Nathan O'Neill digging deep to hang on to third.

Evans was elated after his victory upset the form book, continuing a fine year that saw him claim an excellent 14th overall finish at the Giro d'Italia.

Much of the Mapei-Quick Step rider's success in the past has come in cross-country events, but his performance at the Commonwealth Games says he is now a force to be reckoned with on the road.

"Now I'm really, really happy - but I might have to pinch myself tonight," Evans said. "I had my hopes, you can dream, but I thought all three medals were beyond us."

"I tried to give everything in the last two laps and then just hang on"
Bronze medal winner Nathan O'Neill

All three Australians were delighted at their dominance of what was a strong field.

"A clean sweep of the medals is something special and doesn't come around that often, it was really tough racing," Rogers said.

But the moment might have been slightly marred if O'Neill hadn't pushed himself to the limit, having to be helped off his bike after he crossed the finish line.

"I've been trying to concentrate on this event," O'Neill said. "I tried to give everything in the last two laps and then just hang on."

O'Neill's bronze went some way to compensate him for the crash that dashed his Olympic hopes in Sydney in the same discipline.

Defending champion Eric Wohlberg of Canada was unable to emulate compatriot Clara Hughes, who won the women's event earlier in the day, and had to settle for fourth place.

England's Stuart Dangerfield looked likely to finish as the leading Briton but was disqualified for riding in Evans' slipstream as he fought back, a manoeuvre that is illegal in time trials.

It was left to fellow Englishman Charles Wegelius to take fifth, with South African pair David George and James Piri just behind.

David McCann of Northern Ireland did well to hang on to eighth place under extreme pressure from the New Zealand trio of Gordon McCauley, Heath Blackgrove and Glen Mitchell.

Welsh rider Julian Winn finished in 12th place over the course where he won the British Road Race Championship last month, but will expect to have made a dramatic rise up the finish list when the road race is held next Saturday.



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