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Thomas survives late puncture to win Commonwealth Games gold

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
August 03, 2014, 20:10 BST,
Updated:
August 04, 2014, 2:51 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 4, 2014
Race:
2014 Commonwealth Games, Elite Men Road Race
Geraint Thomas (Wales) winner of the Commonwealth Games road race

Geraint Thomas (Wales) winner of the Commonwealth Games road race

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Welsh rider strongest in stormy Glasgow

A late puncture almost cost Geraint Thomas victory in the men's road race at the Commonwealth Games but the Welshman who later said he was riding for "national pride" held on to take gold ahead of Jack Bauer (New Zealand) and Scott Thwaites (England).

Thomas had broken clear with Bauer and Thwaites in the closing laps of the Glasgow city centre circuit before attacking his companions with 11 kilometres remaining.

"I wanted to catch them by surprise because they are fast guys. I don't have any acceleration at the moment and I am just a massive diesel engine."

"I needed to go early and try and get a gap and once you get a gap on those two they will start thinking about silver and bronze and not commit as much as I would. I was surprised they did not respond but everyone was tired and on their knees."

He looked assured of claiming the gold but with just 6 kilometres remaining and his advantage bobbing at 40 seconds his front wheel punctured.

"I felt like I had to win twice after the punctures," he said at the finish, a Welsh flag draped over his shoulders.

"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 I was thinking '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?"

With a new wheel and the gap down to 18 seconds Thomas was forced to compose himself. He had enough in the tank to ensure that the solo mission was completed and with Bauer and Thwaites sitting up and playing cat and mouse as they duelled for the silver and bronze, Thomas won by 1:21.

"It was an amazing feeling to come down the home straight with this Welsh jersey," he said.

The win marked his second medal of the Games after he took bronze in the men's time trial earlier in the week.

"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 join the whole experience. To come away with a win and a third in the time trial was amazing."

Thomas will close out his Commonwealth Games as Wales' flag bearer in the closing ceremony. "It's a huge honour. It is going to be just as good as today."

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