Tiffany Cromwell knew England’s Lizzie Armitstead was the one to beat coming into the women’s road race.
After missing bronze by a tyre tread behind South Africa's Ashleigh Pasio, Cromwell conceded her close friend Armitstead was a class above in finishing 25 seconds clear of retiring England teammate Emma Pooley.
The 25-year-old left the leading group flat-footed early into the final lap with an explosive burst of speed, finding another gear when her opposition couldn’t on the wet Glasgow circuit.
Pooley eventually bedded down second spot as Cromwell, Pasio and time trial winner Linda Villumsen fought out a thrilling sprint for bronze.
“Even Ashleigh [Pasio] thought I had it, it’s frustrating to be so close,” Cromwell said.
“When Lizzie went I just didn’t have the explosiveness that she had, it was tough with the conditions, the wheel was slipping.
“We live together in Monaco, we’re neighbours basically, we train together all the time.
“We’ve been joking that when we’re on the battlefield we’re enemies, there’s no friendship there.”
Cromwell and fellow Australian Gracie Elvin were made to work hard throughout the race in the leading group, spending large sections of the race offering a slipstream passage for the English girls.
Earlier on it was Aussie Shara Gillow doing the grunt work in front before dropping back to rejoin the peloton.
Pooley led at the final lap ahead of Elvin before Armitstead made her telling move. It capped a clinical display of team strategy throughout the race.
Elvin, who ended up in sixth spot, admits she and Cromwell missed their chance to go with the winner.
“We did hesitate for that split second,” the Canberra rider said.
“I think Tiff and I had already given a lot by that stage.
“We don’t have any big regrets today and there’s always things that you can go back and have a look at in road racing but that was one of the biggest mistakes of the day.
“In the end we made those decisions on the road and we’re responsible for that and I think we did our best out there.
“I was told to save as much energy as possible but we definitely had to share the work around as a team.
“The other girls who weren’t in that front group at the end they did a really good job early in the race.
“No one was selfish so I’m really happy.”
Armitstead said the English team tactics won out on the day.
“That was the best cycling teamwork I have ever been a part of,” she said.
“It’s such a shame Emma is retiring today – it was a fantastic job from her and all the girls and I’m really proud of them.”
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