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Top 20 for Ashton, Halksworth hints at retirement

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KIM ASHTON finished Gold Coast 2018 with weary legs and a beaming smile on Saturday, after securing a top-20 finish in the Commonwealth Games women’s road race.

Team Jersey cyclist Kim Ashton, pictured in her Acorn Pathway kit, put in a superb performance in the road race on Saturday. Picture: Morag Obarska

The Team Jersey rider started with a bang on Currumbin Beachfront – leading the event until around the halfway mark – but in an event often decided by team tactics she was soon caught by medal hopefuls from Australia, New Zealand and Wales, who claimed the top seven places in a blanket finish.

Ashton, who ended just 1 min 14 sec adrift after three hours of action, claimed 20th following a nine-rider dash for the line, with team-mate Helen Ralston taking 31st.

In the men’s road race, Dan Halksworth was the only Islander to finish a gruelling four-hour battle – settling for 45th from a starting field nearing 120 riders.

‘The day went exactly how I would have loved for it to have gone,’ said Ashton, who clocked 3 hr 3 min 32 sec over the 112 km course. ‘I’m over the moon and super proud.

‘It started off quite slow and I found myself out in front for the first three laps. I knew they [the chasing pack] were going to leave me out there to their advantage, but I thought I’d just keep plodding away. Ideally I would have liked a few nations to come across, but it wasn’t to be.

‘Eventually I got reeled in by the pelaton and there were some big attacks from the Aussie girls, which managed to stick.

‘I think if I didn’t do that suicide attack I would have gone with the bunch, but anything else could have happened. I managed to stay on until the final lap and the final climb. That’s exactly how I like to ride. I got stuck in and I can hold my head up high.’

Halksworth, who has now hinted at retirement from competitive sport following three Commonwealth Games appearances in three different sports, said: ‘I’m really happy with the performance – it’s a good one to finish on.

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‘I just wanted to complete the race, and it was pretty tough. I just had to hold on for as long as I could.

‘I managed to stay in the main group until the second-to-last lap and then I died. The hills were quite punchy and my legs just didn’t have it.

‘I need a break now. I’m off to Canada for four weeks soon for a bit of mountain biking and adventuring, and I’m going to enjoy it.’

Rhys Hidrio, Jack Rebours and Ollie Lowthorpe were all pulled aside earlier in the nine-lap 168 km race, having fallen more than ten minutes behind the leaders.

Only 50 of the 116 entrants for the men’s race crossed the finish line.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
author

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