Tight security featuring gun-toting police on top of steel barricades kept most of the spectators away during a CommonwealthGames women’s cycling road race won by Rochelle Gilmore of Australia on Sunday.
It was a perfect day for the race — moderate temperatures, sunny skies and a scenic course through some of the most picturesque parts of downtown New Delhi, including the famous India Gate and Presidential Palace. Even a dog and a monkey sighted on the course didn’t bother the competitors.
Gilmore won in a sprint finish in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 30 seconds. Elizabeth Armistead of England was second and another Australian, Chloe Hosking, took bronze.
Another Australian, Allan Davis, won the men’s road race of 168 kilometers (103 miles) later Sunday in a sprint finish over Hayden Roulston of New Zealand in a time of 3:40.48. David Millar of Scotland took bronze. Pre-race favorite and Tour de France sprinter Mark Cavendish finished seventh.
Davis sprinted to the front over the last 500 meters, helped by teammate Christopher Sutton, who finished fourth.
But the morning race, staged over eight laps of a 13.7-kilometer (8.45-mile) course, was almost devoid of fans. Television footage showed mostly soldiers and other security officials standing behind the fenced and barrier-laden course.
The lack of crowds didn’t bother Gilmore.
“Perhaps it was for the best in terms of security,” she said. “We knew a lot of spectators would be watching us on TV.”
Gilmore’s victory comes after Australian cyclists won 12 of 14 gold medals on the track.