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Geraint Thomas has made history by winning the first ever Welsh male cycling Gold Medal in the Commonwealth Games Road Race. He dropped Bauer and Thwaites on the last lap and despite a mechanical just 5km from home, he had enough time to ce...

Photo: Sirotti

COMMONWEALTH GAMES

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GERAINT THOMAS

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03.08.2014 @ 18:30 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Geraint Thomas has taken the first ever Gold medal for a Welshman in cycling at the Commonwealth games when he made a late solo attack to win the road race ahead of Jack Bauer of New Zealand who just about outsprinted Scott Thwaites of England.

 

140 men started in Glasgow Green for the 166km race to decide who would take home the Gold medal. The race began under rain that would get heavier as the afternoon progressed, making the race a real war of attrition and a hard mans race.

 

Peter Kennaugh, representing the Isle of Man, attacked almost from the gun and he gained a gap that for 115km, remained about 1:50. Australia had sat on the front all day but suffered their first piece of bad luck for the day when Rohan Dennis crashed going into a corner and he would not get back on his bike.

 

While Kennaugh soldiered on in the wet, there were many other high profile DNFs, including Ian Stannard, Alex Dowsett, Andy Fenn and Adrien Niyonshuti.

 

When it looked like the Australians, who had Michael Hepburn on the front for several laps, looked like they were making no inroads into the race leader Kennaugh’s advantage, Nathan Haas attacked, leaving Australia free to sit up and Steve Archbold of New Zealand to chase. 

 

Haas tried for a lap, decided he could make no gains on Kennaugh, then went back into the pack, while Archbold made big inroads into Kennaugh. Just when Kennaugh was about 30 seconds ahead, Archbold’s teammate Jack Bauer made a move that was eventually countered by Geraint Thomas and Scott Thwaites, who made the bridge. Russell Downing and David Millar tried to bridge but failed. It was at this point that Simon Clarke and Mark Renshaw had mechanicals that deprived them of their chance to make it into the lead group.

 

The three chasers made it up to a visibly shattered Kennaugh, who held on for half a lap before being dropped and fading back to a chasing group containing Rowe, Downing, Davies, Dan Craven, Greg Henderson and Millar. Just as he was about to fade into that group, young Caleb Ewan of Australia went flying past the cameras in pursuit of the leading trio, getting to within 27 seconds before beginning to fade.

 

Ewan was in no mans land for 2 laps, constantly losing time to the leading trio but staying away from the group pursuing him, which had swollen due to the return of his teammates Clarke and Renshaw.

 

The leading trio now had over two minutes at this point as they were all working well as they knew if they made it to the line, they would all get a medal.

 

Meanwhile in the chase group, Clarke and Ewan were dropped heavily, with news coming through that Clarke had abandoned, along with Svein Tuft, Michael Hepburn and Haas who had all DNFed the previous lap.

 

Heading into the final lap, the trio up ahead clearly had an unassailable lead and as they hit the first climb of the lap, Thomas made his move, instantly opening a gap of 100m on his opponents that would never be closed. In the chase, Craven and Millar and Davies had all been dropped, leaving just Renshaw, Downing, Rowe, Henderson and, amazingly, Kennaugh.

 

At 4km to the line, Thomas looked set to win when he punctured, a relatively slow change looked like it may have cost him gold but when the cameras refound him, he was off and still had a 20 second gap that he extended over Bauer and Thwaites who were now playing cat and mouse, blissfully unaware of Thomas’ mechanical.

 

In the end Thomas crossed the line 1:21 clear of Bauer who came around Thwaites in the final sprint just 50m from the line.

Downng beat Renshaw in the sprint for fourth 4:29 down on Thomas, with Rowe a further 3 seconds back. Renshaw's fifth place was even more exceptional after he had another mechanical just 5km from home, ruining a day for him when he looked really strong and he had a great chance at Gold.

 

Henderson came next at 5:15, beating Kennaugh, who was given the same time. Then it was a big gap to the remaining 4 finishers, with Craven at 9:03, Davies at 10:10, Millar at 10:21 and Ewan last but certainly not least given his young age and performance at 11:22.

 

The great course and awful weather made this a really hard race but great spectacle to watch, with an exceptionally low number of finishers and a well deserving podium comprised of the three strongest men in the race with the exception of Kennaugh, with Thomas becoming an historic well-deserving winner.

 

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