Commonwealth Games: Thomas survives late puncture to win road race
- POSTED: 04 Aug 2014 02:00
- UPDATED: 04 Aug 2014 02:07
Geraint Thomas survived a late scare to win gold for Wales following a dramatic finish to the gruelling men's 168km road race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
GLASGOW: Geraint Thomas survived a late scare to win gold for Wales following a dramatic finish to the gruelling men's 168km road race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Welsh rider suffered a puncture with just under 6km to go but recovered to cross the line more than a minute ahead of his rivals.
A sprint finish saw New Zealand's Jack Bauer claim silver while Scott Thwaites took bronze for England.
"Words can't describe what was going round my head when I felt that front wheel go down, and it felt like an eternity for the wheel change," said Thomas, who had earlier needed a roadside pit stop to fix a mechanical problem.
"Fortunately I had a decent enough gap and could press on again and it was an amazing feeling to come down the straight with the Welsh jersey on and win.
"My chain came off earlier and it got jammed which was frustrating, but at least it was early on and I could get back up there okay."
Thomas becomes the first Welsh winner of the road race and the 28-year-old was delighted to add gold to the bronze he won in the time trial earlier in the week.
"It feels amazing. I think riding the Tour de France beforehand just adds to how good it feels to come away with two medals," the Team Sky rider added.
"I never really expected to medal if I'm honest and I was coming just out of national pride and wanting to ride for Wales. To come away with a win and a bronze is more than I dreamt of."
The race, contested in strong winds and torrential rain, was led for 120km by the Isle of Man's Peter Kennaugh.
The 25-year-old held his advantage for eight laps with the rest of the chasing peloton content to leave him out on his own before he was reeled in by Thomas, Bauer and Thwaites with 49km to go.
Kennaugh, who at one stage held nearly a two minute advantage, dropped down the order to eventually finish in eighth.
With 12km left Thomas made his move to open a substantial gap on his opponents.
England claimed a one-two in the women's road race as Lizzie Armitstead went one better than New Dehli to claim gold.
It was a historic moment for Armitstead as she won England's 2000th Commonwealth Games medal. Only Australia have won more.
The 25-year-old finished the 98.14km course ahead of teammate Emma Pooley who added another silver to the one she won in the time trial.
A photo finish saw South Africa's Ashleigh Pasio claim her country's first road race medal as she just edged Australia's Tiffany Cromwell for bronze following a dramatic sprint to the line.
For Armitstead, the win allows her to banish the memories of finishing second in New Dehli and at the London 2012 Olympics.
"I can call myself a champion finally. It's special and something I've always dreamed about," Armitstead said.
"I just feel like I deserve this and I've trained so hard. I'm always on the podium but I don't win too many races."
The 25-year-old owes her gold in no small part to the selfless riding of teammate Pooley, who led a breakaway with 40km to go. Armitstead then attacked 6km from the line to go clear as the English team tactics worked to perfection.
"Emma had a fantastic race and was so strong throughout. I'm really grateful to her for all the sacrificing she did," Armitstead said.
Pooley was delighted to finish second in her final race before retiring.
"My job was to make the race hard and to come out with a silver medal is obviously fantastic and unexpected as well," the 31-year-old said.