THE streets of Glasgow took on a continental feel as the cycling time trial transformed the city into a scene resembling the Tour De France.

Thousands of spectators lined the streets at the free event to cheer on the cyclists, with a diverse array of flags waving ­furiously as they sped through the city into areas of North Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire.

Even the athletes were impressed, including Scot David Millar, who finished eighth and described the home support as "bloody amazing".

Loading article content

The cyclist also tweeted: "Felt like a [Tour De France] stage, only better as everybody was Scottish."

As hundreds watched in ­Saltmarket at the start of the route, a wave of noise travelled along the street as the riders passed by the excited crowds.

A metal clanging noise also marked the cyclists' progress as spectators showed their support by banging on the metal railing along the route.

Kirsten Cluley, 25, had come all the way from Kirriemuir in Angus to enjoy the race with a group of friends.

She said: "I'm really into cycling so this is fantastic. The women's event at the start was quite quiet but it really picked up for the men's.

"The crowd has been fantastic, cheering on everyone. It's been great to see so many people from different countries all cheering together. We were all going crazy for David Millar - it's Millar Time!"

Ian Boddy, 54, from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, described the atmosphere as tremendous.

He added: "We've been at the netball, athletics and gymnastics, but it's actually nice to come to one of the free events that everyone can get involved in. The amount of people who have come out for it is fantastic."

England's Alex Dowsett secured gold in the race with a time of 47 minutes and 41.78 seconds, closely followed by Australia's Rohan Dennis and Wales's Geraint Thomas.

Millar, who will retire at the end of this season, had hoped to secure a win in front of his home crowd, but completed the course in 49 minutes and 56.23 seconds.

After the race he congratulated Dowsett, describing his victory as a "phenomenal ride".

The Scot had the full support of the crowd along the 38.4km course - including pensioner Sheena Munro, who took up a prime spot on the route in her folding chair.

The 72-year-old, from Glasgow, who had a Saltire wrapped around her, said: "It's just marvellous. I'm so proud of Glasgow right now. All these people have come out to cheer on the athletes - and everyone is getting a big cheer. It's fantastic.

"We brought our chairs so we were comfy as we waited for it to start, but as soon as the athletes came whizzing by we jumped out of them to cheer."

Lisa Winn, 42, from Newcastle, watched the race with her husband Jonathan and their two daughters, Hannah, eight, and five-year-old Ella.

She said: "The girls had a great time, they were cheering every time a bike or a car went past - even when it wasn't one of the athletes. They were just so excited. They loved watching to see which country the cyclists were from too."

North Lanarkshire Council said about 6,000 people turned out to see the time trial in Stepps, Chryston, Moodiesburn and Auchinloch, while in East Dunbartonshire there were about 600 spectators.

North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim McCabe said: "The people of North Lanarkshire have really taken the Commonwealth Games to their hearts. This really was a once-in-a-lifetime event and we are delighted it passed off so smoothly."

Hugh MacDonald: Sport Page 2