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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK

O'Grady king of the road

By Clive Lindsay
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

Stuart O'Grady showed his Tour de France class as he clinched gold in the men's road race.

The 28-year-old Australian broke clear midway through the 16-lap, 187.2km race, in front of 65,000 spectators at a winding course near Bolton.

He went on to win by two minutes eight seconds, with Cadel Evans taking silver and Baden Cooke bronze to complete a medals sweep for the dominant Aussies.

But it was O'Grady, just back from taking part in the most grueling cycling event in the world, who shone brightest.

"I think the only thing we didn't win was the backstroke"
Stuart O'Grady

He had finished a slightly-disappointing 77th in the Tour, but nobody was able to live with him once he made the decisive break at Rivington.

O'Grady said: "This means a huge amount to me.

"It is my first win of a fairly up and down season as the Tour did not go quite as I had hoped, so this an important point for myself and the team."

Australia scooped 23 medals in the cycling events and O'Grady joked: "I think the only thing we didn't win here was the backstroke."

Now he and the team were looking forward to a successful world championships later in the year.

Andy Rose, of the Seychelles, was the first to have his moment of glory, breaking clear of the peloton almost from the start.

But the first significant break came from Kiwi Gordon McCauley and three British riders - England's Mark Lovatt, Scotland's Duncan Urquhart and Northern Ireland's Tommy Evans.

With a quarter of the race gone, they had inched 40 seconds clear.

Sprint finish for third

After five of the 16 laps, that gap had grown to a healthy two minutes 13 seconds.

Those in the peloton, led by the six-strong Australian team, did not panic and gradually started to eat into the lead in the second half of the race.

And they caught the breakaway with six laps remaining, with a new lead group of eight riders surging clear.

Eric Wohlberg, Glen Mitchell and Robert Hunter and David George were joined by four Australians, Michael Rogers - who was eventually dropped - O'Grady, Cooke and Evans.

O'Grady looked to be struggling early on but soon struck decisively for glory, the three Australians having agreed that he was feeling the most fresh for the challenge.

Evans - who took gold in the time trial - was a clear second after making his break from the chasing group in the final lap.

Cooke, who finished just behind O'Grady on the Tour, overtook Mitchell in a sprint finish for third.


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