GLASGOW (AFP) — Geraint Thomas survived a late scare to win gold for Wales following a dramatic finish to the grueling men’s road race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Welsh rider suffered a puncture with just under 6km to go in the 168km race 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 suffered a mechanical.
“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 said.
“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 dreamed of.”
The race was contested in strong winds and torrential rain. The Isle of Man’s Peter Kennaugh led for 120km, building a gap of nearly two minutes, before Thomas, Bauer and Thwaites caught him with 49km to go.
Then, 12km from the line, Thomas made his move, opening a substantial gap on his opponents and hanging on for the victory.