Gold medal is ‘a big f---ing deal’
SEVEN months after being told she wasn't good enough to represent Australia at the world championships, Chloe Hosking has delivered the ultimate message to her doubters with an emotional Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women's road race.
Australia rode the perfect team race by making it as fast and hard as possible for its rivals over the undulating 112km course at Currumbin before its gun sprinter finished it off inside the final 1km to beat New Zealand's Georgia Williams and Wales' Danielle Rowe.
Hosking joins Kathy Watt, Rochelle Gillmore and Natalie Bates as the only Australian women to have won the road race at the Commonwealth Games, and after delivering on huge pre-race expectation said it meant everything to her.
"I wish all six girls could have it (gold) on their CV, road cycling is such a cruel sport in that sense and I wouldn't have won today without those girls and I'm so grateful," she said.
"It's so special to win on home soil. People say for road cycling Commonwealth Games isn't that big a deal but you know what? I'm Commonwealth Games champion and it's a big f---ing deal.
"I'm so happy and really proud of myself."
It was the second Commonwealth Games medal for Hosking, who also won a bronze in the road race in Delhi in 2010.
The 27-year-old was initially left out of Australia's road team for the world championships last September in a controversial selection decision by Cycling Australia's high-performance manager Simon Jones.
She successfully appealed against her non-selection and rode a big race in Norway before peace talks with Jones and CA put them both on a path to a gold medal on the Gold Coast.
Yesterday Hosking admitted she needed to change late last year and Jones and CA were both among the "team behind the team" she thanked.
"In November I took a step back. There were big changes at CA and at first it was a bit of a slap in the face but when I stopped and listened there was a lot to learn and a lot that I could change to make myself better," she said.
"I went out and got a nutritionist, a sports psych, worked super closely with my coach and started building this integrated network around me. You know I'm not an island, I need people around me to get to a level that I want to get to.
"I want to thank my parents - my dad got me on the bike when I was 12 and my mum kept me sane - my family, my partner, coach, nutritionist, and all the CA staff - Brad McGee and Simon Jones they've done a phenomenal job."
Hosking's win was even more remarkable given just two weeks ago she was in hospital after crashing at 60km/h during a race in Belgium, leaving her in fear she'd broken her shin.
But told she was being a "drama queen" by her doctor, she got a plane to Australia the next day and began focusing on the Games.
"For about 15 seconds when I was on the ground collecting myself (I was worried) but it was just cold and shock, and I had a scan and the doctor pretty much told me I was a drama queen so I knew I was OK," Hosking said.
"I had all the Aussie staff messaging me before I'd even got my phone, asking if I was OK, and I've had great support around me.
"I'm at a point in my career where I want to really embrace that role (leadership), and I think I did that today and with all my preparation.
"I just want to enjoy it and hopefully make that next step and keep winning races."
The peloton was gradually whittled down over five laps before they turned for home with 30km to go, with the Aussies Katrin Garfoot, Shannon Malseed, Gracie Elvin, Sarah Roy and Tiffany Cromwell all supporting Hosking.
With 10km to go, Garfoot and Elvin continued to apply pressure and Hosking just had to hold on to set herself up for a sprint finish.
The field was down to just 11 riders contesting the gold medal in the final 3km.
Wales hit out early but Hosking responded and comfortably won a sprint to the line to continue a stellar start to 2018, which also included her winning the women's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in February.