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Geraint Thomas suffered an all too familiar story as an early crash cost him his chance of Commonwealth gold in the men’s time trial.
Barely two minutes into his ride the back wheel got away from the Welshman on a sharp left-hander, and he clipped a barrier.
Thomas remounted but was around 30 seconds down on eventual winner Rohan Dennis at every time check and finished two seconds behind England’s Fred Wright who collected silver.
Riders were not given the opportunity to recon the course with barriers in place, which may have contributed to a number of crashes that followed. England’s Dan Bigham left his bike embedded in a barrier and finished the race on his fiance Joss Lowden’s machine.
“The recon I did was in traffic, there were no barriers up or anything,” Thomas said. “It was pretty pointless really, other than knowing where the hills were. I thought it was a sweeping left hander, then the barriers were there and I thought, ‘Oh s***’. It’s never straightforward, is it?
“We’re used to seeing the course exactly how it’s going to be. It’s not as organised as what we’re used to.”
Despite that Thomas – who has seen crashes wreck hopes in the Tour de France and Olympics – said he needed to take the blame given the course was the same for everyone.
— Ian Parker (@iparkysport) August 4, 2022
“Sometimes it’s just pure bad luck but I’d say today I take it on the chin as my fault,” he said. “I was keen to try to do my best ride. I felt every corner was not full so I don’t have to brake too much, I was wrong with that.
“I knew Rohan was going to be super good. I had to be on the limit but for it to happen so early on is one of those things.”
The way Thomas held the time gaps to Australia’s Dennis suggested the 36-year-old, less than two weeks after finishing third in the Tour de France, had the form to challenge the former time trial world champion, who missed the Tour and had focused on this event.
Wright was among the early runners, effectively spending more than two hours in the hot seat until being shunted aside by Dennis at the last.
Still, this was another excellent result for the 23-year-old who lit up several stages of the Tour in the breakaways, finishing second on stage 13 into Saint Etienne.
“It was quite a long wait, I must say!” Wright said. “I’m so happy with my shape. Coming into something like this after the Tour you can either be on fire or a bit fatigued. I’d like to say I was on fire.
“To be mixing it with the likes of G and Rohan, I knew I’d do a good TT today. G would have had me if he’d not crashed today but it’s still a medal.”
England’s Anna Henderson carried her strong form from last week’s inaugural Tour de France Femmes into the Games to collect silver in the women’s time trial behind Australia’s Grace Brown.
Henderson said she was “feeling rubbish” after her exertions helping team-mate Marianne Vos in France, but it did not show in Wolverhampton as she clocked a time of 40 minutes 38.55 seconds over the 28.8 kilometre course, 33 seconds down on Brown.
“I’m really happy,” Henderson said. “I think second was the best I could do. Grace is just unreal. She’s a world-class time triallist so I’m really pleased to be that close to her.”