Hughes strikes gold in cycling

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

Clara Hughes showed the grit and determination that has characterized her illustrious career yet again.

The Winnipeg native fought through painful cramps to win her second gold medal at the 2011 UCI Pan-American Championships on Medellin, Colombia on Sunday.

Hughes, who now lives in Quebec, won the 96-kilometre road race despite suffering from severe cramps, winning in 2:23:52, 1:18 over runner-up, Evelyn Garcia Marroquin of El Salvador. Theresa Cliff-Ryan of the U.S. was a distant third.

Hughes, who also won gold in Friday’s time trial, will compete as the Continental Champion in both events at the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark this September.

“It was an epic day,” Hughes said in a Canadian Cycling Association release. “We had a plan as a team to win the road race today and I am so proud of this victory for Canada ...

“It was hot, hilly and gruelling, and I was cramping up really badly halfway through the race. I ate and drank as much as I could to make the cramps go away and kept thinking ‘You can’t lose this race for the team!’ It gave me a lot of strength and motivation knowing my teammates were working hard behind.”

Hughes, who has won Olympic medals in both cycling and speed skating, has won three straight races since returning to cycling from speed skating.

“It was a team victory and I’m satisfied but exhausted,” she said. “I’ve never cramped up in a race and had to go through that kind of pain.”


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