Rohan Dennis claims gold in Commonwealth Games time trial

WOLVERHAMPTON ENGLAND AUGUST 04 L R Silver Medalist Fred Wright of Team England Gold Medalist Rohan Dennis of Team Australia and Bronze Medalist Geraint Thomas of Team Wales pose with their medals during the Mens Individual Time Trial medal ceremony on day seven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on August 04 2022 in Wolverhampton England Photo by Stephen PondGetty Images
Rohan Dennis tops the podium at the Commonwealth Games time trial (Image credit: Getty Images)

Rohan Dennis (Australia) claimed victory in the men's individual time trial at the Commonwealth Games, as Geraint Thomas lost his gold medal hopes in an early crash. 

Dennis and Thomas started as the major pre-race favourites and it was Dennis, two-time world champion and silver medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, who prevailed.

Dennis clocked 48:21 on the lightly undulating 37.4km course in Wolverhampton, UK. England's Fred Wright claimed the silver medal at 26 seconds, while Thomas picked himself up to take bronze for Wales at 28 seconds.

"I'm really happy. I'd made a habit of getting a minor medal at anything ending with 'Games',  so now to get gold, a lot of hard work over the past 12 years has finally paid off," said Dennis.

Thomas arguably lost half a minute in his crash and surely would have been in gold medal contention were it not for his latest misfortune. He reached all three intermediate checkpoints in second place around half a minute down on Dennis but, despite Dennis fading towards the end, he left himself too much to do. 

Thomas himself was on the limit and ended up slipping from silver medal position to end up with bronze, after Wright had ridden the strongest time of there first wave of starters and - as it turned out - the strongest run-in of the lot. 

The time trial was very much a three-horse race, as Aaron Gate (New Zealand) was the next best finisher in fourth but more than two minutes down, himself colliding into the barriers beyond the finish line. Luke Plapp (Australia) rounded out the top five after losing time to a a bike change, while Dan Bigham also flipped into the barriers on his ride in what was a chaotic afternoon. 

Dennis, however, looked poised and in control as the penultimate starter, and it was apparent he was riding to gold as soon as Thomas hit the deck behind within the first two minutes of his ride. The Welshman took too much speed into the second left-hand bend and, despite appearing to have maintained balance as he skidded around, he clipped the metal barriers and landed in a heap. 

Thomas was later seen gesturing for his team car and speaking into his radio, although he didn't stop again. He produced a strong effort to carry on and take a medal, but finished with a bloodied knee and disappointment. 

Dennis, meanwhile, remained well on course with a healthy half-minute lead at the intermediate checkpoints after 8.9km, 19.2km and 32.8km. However, he did fade towards the end of his ride. Rather than his victory margin increasing all the way to the line, he was effectively 17 seconds slower than Wright over the second half of the course. 

He'd reached the second checkpoint with a lead of 43 seconds over the young Englishman, but that came down to 35 seconds after 32.8km and then 26 seconds by the finish. Still, he'd already given himself enough room for manoeuvre. 

Thomas, meanwhile, gained a few seconds on Dennis on the run-in but likewise could not match Wright's negative split and, having seemed set for silver throughout, slipped to bronze as he crossed the line as the last finisher. 

"I was trying not to think about anyone else. I heard at the finish he had a mishap in the first few kilometres, which is a shame. You never like to see anyone come down and I hope that didn't affect me winning or losing," said Dennis. 

"It would have been nice to have a clean run for everyone, and no question marks, but in the end I still got that gold."

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Patrick Fletcher

Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.

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