Armitstead finally able to enjoy golden moment

YORKSHIRE’S run of success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow ended on a golden note on the final day.

THIS IS MY MOMENT: An emotional Lizzie Armitstead, from Otley, holds her arms aloft in celebration after winning the womens road race at the Commonwealth Games on the sodden streets of Glasgow. Picture: John Giles/PA.
THIS IS MY MOMENT: An emotional Lizzie Armitstead, from Otley, holds her arms aloft in celebration after winning the womens road race at the Commonwealth Games on the sodden streets of Glasgow. Picture: John Giles/PA.

Otley’s Lizzie Armitstead and Leeds’s Gabby Adcock added their names to an impressive list of winners, taking Yorkshire’s tally of golds to 13.

In total, competitors representing the White Rose either by birthright or association claimed 46 medals in Glasgow –13 gold, 18 silver and 15 bronze.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The tremendous tally would have placed them sixth in the final table – at the London Olympics in 2012 they would have finished 12th.

Cycling star Armitstead was relieved to finally be able to call herself a champion after leading an England one-two ahead of retiring team-mate Emma Pooley in a stunning women’s road race.

Adcock and husband Chris claimed gold for England with a convincing victory over Chris Langridge and Heather Olver in badminton’s mixed doubles final.

Elsewhere, Sheffield’s Nick Matthew took a silver medal in the men’s squash doubles, adding to the gold medal he won earlier in the week when retaining his crown in the men’s singles.

And Doncaster’s Barry Middleton also had something to savour when he was part of the men’s hockey team which took bronze following a dramatic penalty shoot-out against New Zealand.

In the cycling, Pooley, in her last race before switching to endurance triathlons, played a brilliant selfless role in the 98km event – seven laps of a 14km undulating course – and finished with silver.

Armitsead, 25, finished with silver behind Australia’s Rochelle Gilmore in Delhi four years ago and claimed Britain’s first medal of London 2012, with silver behind Marianne Vos of Holland.

Now Armitstead has the title she has long craved.

“I just feel like I deserve it,” she said afterwards. “I’ve trained so hard. I’m always on the podium, I don’t win that many races.

“It’s just a confidence thing. Once you’ve got a big title you can call yourself a champion finally. Hopefully, it will bode well for the rest of the season. The psychologists tell you it should never be a relief when you win a race, but to tell you the truth, it is.”

Armitstead, who crashed out of contention in last Sunday’s La Course by Le Tour in Paris, had wanted a tough race and difficult conditions and the rain began to fall on the penultimate lap.

“I love the rain,” she added.

“I was just thinking of my family. When the rain started I knew they’d all be thinking ‘yes, this is good for Lizzie’. A little smile came on my face and I just thought ‘yes, this is perfect’.”

Pooley attacked alone and Armitstead joined her on Great George Street before accelerating ahead alone at the point where she made her move in the British Championships, soloing to a stunning triumph, with a tearful Pooley 25 seconds behind.

The Adcocks, ranked five in the world, lived up to their top-seed billing as they powered to a 21-9 21-12 win over their team-mates.

The Adcocks did not relinquish their grip after imposing themselves on the second seeds early in the first game and they went on to wrap up victory in 35 minutes.

Gabby Adcock said: “We’re over the moon with this gold. There was a lot of pressure coming into this tournament, being No 1 seeds, but we played so well this week.

“We kept our calm, tried to enjoy it. We are exhausted now but we couldn’t be happier.”

While disappointed to miss gold, Matthew was happy to take silver – particularly given the fact he was in hopsital undergoing knee surgery at the end of June.

“I’m happy with my week’s work,” he said. “I was on a hospital bed five weeks ago and had minimal court time before.

“I would have signed for what I have achieved beforehand, we both wouldn’t have achieved what we have done in the game if we weren’t disappointed by this loss.”

Nick Westby’s tribute to Yorkshire stars: Page 3