Sunday's Commonwealth Games women's road race might have gone very differently if one of the strongest riders in the field, Nicole Cooke of Wales, had not been her country's sole representative. The five-rider break that escaped early contained a representative of every team that had a significant chance of victory - except Wales. Cooke eventually took the bronze and was the only rider attempting to chase down the break, at one point bringing its advantage down from over three minutes to about 90 seconds with a spirited pursuit.
Welsh Cycling chief executive, Peter Sommers says it won't happen again. In a statement yesterday, Sommers said Welsh Cycling was in a strong position to ensure that Cooke would not be the only female competing at the Delhi Games in 2010.
"I am confident that Melbourne 2006 will be the last Games where Welsh Cycling will only have one female cyclist that will meet the minimum selection criteria," said Sommers. "Thanks to the fine work being done by our cycling clubs and coaches across Wales and the resultant emergence of young female cyclists onto both Welsh Cycling and British Cycling performance programmes, Delhi 2010 should see a strong Welsh female cycling team."
Before the Games, Cooke had said she would not attend if she didn't have a team to support her, but she eventually relented and travelled to Melbourne for the road race. She was uncomplaining about what might have been, saying after the race, "It means as much to me to get a bronze medal as getting gold in Manchester. I'm happy with myself." However, she added a cheeky reference to the situation: "Five [more] Welsh cyclists needed!"