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CYCLING: Gold for Welshman Geraint Thomas in road race

Wales's Geraint Thomas celebrates his victory in the Commonwealth Road Race

Wales's Geraint Thomas celebrates his victory in the Commonwealth Road Race

Geraint Thomas won Commonwealth Games gold for Wales in the men’s road race on the final day of Glasgow 2014.

Thomas, the time-trial bronze medallist on Thursday, triumphed in torrential rain on the 12-lap, 168-kilometres undulating course in a race which became about survival and brute strength.

The 28-year-old from Cardiff, who finished the Tour de France last Sunday, twice suffered front-wheel punctures, including in the last six kilometres as his rivals neared.

But Thomas soloed to victory by one minute 21 seconds as Jack Bauer of New Zealand beat Scott Thwaites of England to silver, the Yorkshireman having to settle for bronze.

The Isle of Man’s Pete Kennaugh, who won the island’s only medal of the 2014 Games with points race silver on the track, led on his own for 116 kilometres, ultimately in vain.

Lizzie Armitstead earlier led an England one-two ahead of retiring team-mate Emma Pooley in a thrilling women’s road race.

With Cavendish, recovering from shoulder surgery, in the team car, Kennaugh was the Isle of Man’s undisputed leader and attacked after 3km.

The 25-year-old, who was racing on the second anniversary of his London 2012 team pursuit triumph, was left out of Team Sky’s Tour de France squad, responding by winning the British Championships, the Tour of Austria and his Commonwealth silver in the points race at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Kennaugh insisted he had no need to prove a point, that his pedigree was free for all to see, and clearly felt strong.

He was seen in discussions with Cavendish, who was leaning out of the team car, on the third lap, with the rider’s tactics perhaps being questioned as he ploughed on alone through teeming rain and swirling winds.

At one point he had to avoid an umbrella blowing across the route and his lead was cut once Australia persuaded other teams to share in the chase.

The Manxman was caught by a counter-attack featuring Bauer, Thwaites and Thomas, who had earlier required a wheel change due to a puncture, with 49km to go and, perhaps inevitably, slipped back as soon as he was caught.

The trio led at the bell and it was just a matter of 14km to decide their final podium placings.

Knowing Thwaites has a good kick, Thomas went early, accelerating on the final ascent of St Vincent Street.

There was still drama for Thomas, who required a further front wheel change which was excruciatingly long in the closing moments.

Fortunately for the Welshman he had built enough of a lead to absorb the losses and go on to win.

Just 14 of the 139 riders took to the last of the 12 laps in horrendous conditions as anyone more than 10 minutes behind the leader on each lap was eliminated.

 

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