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.
‘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.