YORKSHIRE’S Harry Tanfield followed younger brother Charlie onto the podium on the Gold Coast as England won Commonwealth silver and bronze in the road cycling time trials despite the shock of an administrative error costing Melissa Lowther the opportunity to compete.
Harry Tanfield won silver in the men’s time trial in Currumbin before Hayley Simmonds delivered bronze in the women’s event.
That came after Team England announced in the morning that Wakefield’s Lowther was out of the event after the team failed to properly file her entry.
The 23-year-old Tanfield edged out New Zealander Hamish Bond by just two seconds over the 38.5km course as Australian Cameron Meyer won in a time of 48mins 13.04secs, some 30 seconds ahead of Tanfield.
“It’s great,” said Great Ayton’s 23-year-old Tanfield, who admitted he had not known what to expect. “I didn’t know who was going to be riding. I didn’t know if they were going to fly (three-time Australian national time trial champion) Rohan Dennis in for this or what.
“I didn’t know Cam (Meyer) was riding until the other day. I honestly had no idea. I know my power, I know what I can do but don’t know what I can do in the heat.
“It wasn’t that hot in the end but I haven’t done a 40-minute TT effort since October last year so I was a bit uncertain how it would go.”
Tanfield got a few tips from younger brother Charlie, who was one of the earlier starters after his gold-medal winning display in the velodrome last week.
Charlie was one of the faster riders in the first wave but eventually slipped to eighth place, narrowly ahead of Ian Bibby who suffered mechanical problems on his bike.
Scotland’s John Archibald finished a hugely creditable 11th, pushing himself after an nasty early crash to the extent he had to be helped off his bike and taken away in a wheelchair, suffering from the effects of heat exhaustion and adrenalin.
England’s preparations for the women’s race had been disrupted by the shock of losing Lowther, who had made this race her main target.
But Simmonds responded in the best way as she won a bronze medal which left her in tears at the finish.
“It’s incredible,” said Simmonds. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of, I suppose, to be here representing England at a Commonwealth Games. I knew that if I had a good ride a medal was a possibility but I almost didn’t dare think about it too much.”
The 29-year-old is a former rower whose switch to cycling has helped her lose a huge amount of weight - she said it was around 45 kilos since 2011.
Australia’s Katrin Garfoot took gold ahead of New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen.
Despite her joy, Simmonds was still thinking of Lowther at the finish.
“This morning I almost felt guilty that I was riding and she wasn’t because I know how hard she was worked for this,” she said.
“We’ve got the road race to come but I know this was what she was really training towards. I don’t know if me medalling has made it easier or not. I’ll buy her an ice cream on our ride tomorrow.”