Published: 4 August 2014
Written by: Rebecca Ransom
Images: Steve Pope/Sporting Wales
Geraint Thomas took the Commonwealth road race title in Glasgow after a nailbiting performance on the city centre course.
Thomas became the first Welshman to win a cycling gold medal in the history of the Commonwealth Games, with Louise Jones and Nicole Cooke Wales' only other Commonwealth gold medal cyclists.
A dramatic race saw Geraint suffer a mechanical early on in the race, where he had to chase through the convoy to rejoin the peloton, a moment whre he thought his medal chances were gone. Wales' Jon Mould also suffered a mechanical failure which saw him retire from the race after the first lap of the challenging city centre course, which made it difficult to get back on the fast-moving peloton.
Luke Rowe, Sam Harrison, Owain Doull and Scott Davies supported Thomas on the remainder of his medal winning ride. The Isle of Man's Peter Kennaugh made an early move, which saw him ride solo for over 119km of the 168km race, before he was caught Thomas, New Zealand's Jack Bauer and England's Scott Thwaites.
Thomas then made the attack with two laps to go, which seemed to secure his podium finish. But in dramatic fashion, Thomas suffered a late puncture which could have hampered his chances of gold with just 6.5km to go.
Thomas received service and the two-time Olympic champion maintained a 20 second lead, despite the wheel change, and finished as the first Welshman to win a cycling gold in the history of the Comonwelath Games.
“It was amazing feeling to come down the home straight with this Welsh jersey," Thomas told to Gareth Griffiths, Wales Online “It’s massive because just riding the Tour adds to how good it feels to come away with two medals. I was coming here purely out of national pride and wanting to ride for Wales. I never expected to medal. I was just coming here to race hard and enjoy the whole experience. To come away with a win and a third in the time trial was amazing."
Geraint also acknowledge the support from his fellow Welsh teammates which saw him grace the top step of the podium in Glasgow Green.
“It’s a team event and all the boys helped me out and rode for me. To be leading the team and for everything to go right, well almost everything, was amazing. The weather was grim and there were so many corners. There was a lot going on and it was hard work. The Glasgow crowds felt like the continuation of the Tour with the atmosphere. It was a great feeling to be riding down the straight with everyone banging on the boards."
“I felt like I had to win twice after the puncture," said Thomas. “The first one was my chain which was frustrating but it was early on and I could get back. The puncture was a slow one and I could feel it getting down so I decided to get it changed as soon as it could.
“In the end it was ok. At the time, it was a nightmare. I had neutral service but it felt like an eternity but I am sure it was not slow. When I felt the front wheel going down words could not say what I was saying. I was swearing and thinking 'what do I have to do?' It felt like a different enough gap at the time but the wheel change felt like an eternity. Fortunately I still had that gap and I could press."
Thomas was also rewarded by Team Wales with the honiur of carrying the Welsh flag into Hampden Park for the closing ceremony,
“Darren Tudor told me before the race and it’s a huge honour," added the Cardiff cyclist. “It is going to be just as good as winning the race today."
Thomas' fellow Team Sky rider Luke Rowe finished 6th, with 18 year old Scott Davies finishing 10th. Sam Harrison, Owain Doull and Jon Mould all retired from the race.
Earlier in the day, in the women's road race, Amy Roberts put in a gutsy ride to be the only Welsh rider to finish the race, coming in a respectable 10th place.