Belfast Telegraph

Thomas takes long road to gold after major Tour effort

By Matt McGeehan

Geraint Thomas travelled to Glasgow 2014 in the name of national pride and with few expectations, but returns as a Commonwealth Games champion after a sensational victory in the men's road race.

Thomas was told by Welsh coach Darren Tudur before the start of the 12-lap, 168-kilometres undulating course that he would be Wales' flagbearer for the closing ceremony.

And the bronze medallist from Thursday's road time-trial ensured he would lead the team as its fifth gold medallist by escaping to victory on the last lap, a week after finishing the Tour de France in Paris.

The 28-year-old from Cardiff said: "Riding the Tour before it just adds to how good it feels to come away with two medals. I really didn't expect it.

"I was coming purely out of national pride and wanting to ride for Wales. I never really expected to medal, if I'm honest.

"To come away with a win and a bronze is more than I could've dreamt of.

"It was an amazing feeling to come down the home straight with this Welsh jersey on and win."

There was plenty of drama in the torrential rain as Thomas had to overcome an early mechanical problem and a puncture inside the final 6km.

Fortunately for Thomas he had enough of an advantage to absorb the inconvenience to win 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.

Thomas, twice an Olympic champion in the team pursuit on the track, said: "When I felt that front wheel going down, I can't say what I was saying, I was swearing, saying 'what have I got to do?'

"It felt like an eternity for that wheel change. I'm sure it wasn't that slow.

"Fortunately I had a decent enough time gap."

It was the second home nations triumph of the final day after Lizzie Armitstead earlier led an England one-two ahead of retiring team-mate Emma Pooley in a thrilling women's road race.

Pooley played a brilliant selfless role in the 98km, seven-lap event while bronze went to South Africa's Ashleigh Pasio.

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