Commonwealth Games coverage
Published: 3 August 2014
Written by: Scott Hobro
Wales’ Geraint Thomas survived a dramatic late puncture to win the men’s road race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Team Sky rider Thomas had broken clear of England’s Scott Thwaites and New Zealand’s Jack Bauer from the three-man leading group when a flat tyre threatened his gold-medal hopes with just 6.5km remaining of the city-centre circuit.
But the two-time Olympic champion maintained a 20-second lead despite the required wheel change and continued to the finish to become the first Welshman to win a cycling gold in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
England's Scott Thwaites won bronze with New Zealand's Jack Bauer collecting silver after the 168-kilometre race, with only 12 riders finishing.
"Winning is unbelievable. I never expected it. Coming off the tour I was tired at end of that. I thought it would be a massive challenge to get a result here but the motivation was there," Thomas, 28, told BBC Sport.
"I was buzzing to compete for Team Wales. I just got stuck in and it couldn't have got any better. Carrying the flag tonight will be a massive honour. That is just as good as winning a race and that means a lot to me and my family."
"That was such a grim day. To be honest, I felt terrible at the start. I was thinking of just stopping I felt that bad. Everyone else seemed to come down to my level then.
"I was surprised how easily I went away. When I had the puncture I thought 'what have I got to do?' but fortunately I had a decent enough gap to stay in front. It was a good day in the end."
Thwaites, 24, said: "Geraint was so strong I always knew that (his breakaway) was coming. It was just a matter of time before he went for the gold medal.
"My legs were shot at the end, Jack (Bauer) is a super-strong guy but he just got me in the end. I'm a little bit disappointed (not to have got second) but I'm just happy to be on the podium."
Thomas’ Team Sky colleague Peter Kennaugh had attacked from the start at Glasgow Green and led the race alone for 119km.
Kennaugh, who has won the Isle of Man’s only medal of the Games with silver in the points race on the track, battled on unaccompanied for eight laps of the 12 in torrential rain in Scotland.
Behind him, the peloton had been decimated with just 18 riders remaining from 140 starters after eight laps.
Despite holding a lead of one minute and 55 seconds at one stage, he was inevitably pulled back on lap nine of the city-centre circuit by Thomas, Thwaites and Bauer.
The trio gradually extended the gap back to the remnants of the main group and led by over two minutes with two 14.4-kilometre laps left.
Thomas then made his move in the closing stages and was not to be denied by the late mechanical trouble.