Commonwealth Games: Wolverhampton welcome for cyclists

By John Bray
BBC News, West Midlands

  • Published
Image caption,
The first rider who climbed up Darlington Street and into Queen Square just after 10:00 BST was Gibraltar's Olivia Lett

Thousands of cycling fans lined the streets on Thursday as some of the world's top cyclists brought the Birmingham Commonwealth Games to the Black Country.

Wolverhampton hosted the women's and men's time trial events, with large parts of the city closed off to traffic.

The time trial route took the cyclists away from West Park to Sedgley and Dudley, before returning through the south Staffordshire countryside.

The women's event in the morning was won by Australia's Grace Brown, while her compatriot Rohan Dennis triumphed in the afternoon men's race.

Image caption,
The riders set out towards Dudley to be greeted by enthusiastic supporters at the roadside
Image caption,
Large crowds gathered in Penn to watch the cyclists take a sharp left hand turn towards Goldthorn Hill
Image caption,
And they were then able to cheer the cyclists on their way back to the city centre after they'd visited Dudley and Sedgley

Wolverhampton cycling ambassador Hugh Porter, who won Commonwealth gold back in 1966, said: "I am having a super day today.

"I never, ever thought I would see something like this. It's a wonderful day for the city."

Wolverhampton Council leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, apologised to residents and businesses affected by the numerous road closures, but said: "It's a once in a lifetime event."

He said he hoped the TV coverage beamed across the world would help persuade people that Wolverhampton was a city to "invest and visit".

Image caption,
A treat for nursery children as the cyclists returned to Wolverhampton city centre through Penn
Image caption,
Dozens of volunteer race marshalls were dotted around the course to ensure the safety of cyclists and spectators
Image caption,
The crowds in and around the city grew bigger as the morning went on, with the women's event preceding the men's time trial, which was split into two sections
Image source, David Davies/PA Wire
Image caption,
England's Anna Henderson won silver, Australia's Grace Brown took gold, and it was bronze for Georgia Williams from New Zealand
Image source, Jason Cairnduff/Reuters
Image caption,
Rohan Dennis, who seemed in control throughout his race, on his way to gold for Australia
Image source, David Davies/PA Wire
Image caption,
Wales' Tour de France star Geraint Thomas fell shortly after leaving West Park, and had to settle ultimately for bronze

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games run until Monday 8 August.

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