Commonwealth Games debutant Zoe Cuthbert has claimed Australia’s first ever silver medal in the cross-country mountain bike race at Cannock Chase Forest.
The 21-year-old produced a barnstorming performance to finish second +0:47 behind England's Evie Richards who took the gold, with South Africa's Candice Lill in third.
“Thought of everything I’ve done to get here, and I knew I could do it.”
“It’s just so amazing to think I’ve just won a medal and raced against someone like (Evie) who I look up to.”
Cuthbert staved off multiple attacks from South Africa’s Lill and Scotland’s Isla Short, to win only Australia’s third ever Commonwealth Games medal in the discipline.
“There were a few points where the other girls attacked and put a gap into me and thought I don’t know if I can break them.
"But on that techy stuff, I felt so strong at the end and put the power down to make a gap.”
Richards, the current world champion, wasted little time in taking the reins of the seven lap race which left Cuthbert ready to wage a battle for the minor medals.
“When Evie went I was so tempted to go after her.
"It’s such a long race and I thought I would probably crack and my team was on the side saying be patient be patient and I did.”
It was on an uphill rock garden that the Canberran attacked which saw her move her from the back of the group into the silver medal position with one lap remaining.
Cuthbert soaked up the final few metres to the finish line before reflecting on a long held goal in her post race interview.
"Apparently when I was eight I said to my mum I want to go to the Olympics, so that's my goal."
Daniel McConnell and Sam Fox lined up in the field of 26 for their eight laps.
Defending champion, New Zealand's Sam Gaze put the foot down from the opening loop which saw a breakaway group and the Aussies were already in chase mode.
Devastation for debutant Fox on the opening half of the first lap when he suffered a flat tyre and found himself shuffled back in the field.
However, the Tasmanian fought his way back to join McConnell for the rest of the race.
Gaze would make it back-to-back gold medals, with countryman Ben Oliver in second and Namibia’s Alex Miller third.
Fox would finish sixth, +3:01 behind the Kiwi champion with McConnell seventh.
McConnell admitted it wasn’t how he hoped his third and last Commonwealth Games would end.
“Obviously I’m pretty disappointed not to come away with a medal today, that was the goal.
“It was a big focus of mine for the last 12 months. It didn’t pan out today, but not much I can do about it."
For the 21-year-old Fox it was a case of what could have been on debut.
“Legs felt good today but just unfortunate to have a flat ... put me out of contention early on.”
“Takes everything to go right to push for those results.”
Photos: Guy Swarbrick