Neah Evans caps incredible Commonwealth Games with road race silver

·3-min read
Neah Evans caps incredible Commonwealth Games with road race silver

Neah Evans ‘winged it’ all the way to road race silver to cap an incredible Commonwealth Games.

The Langbank rider pounced when the 112km race came down to a bunch sprint and sprung clear for a third medal of these Games across track and road.

Evans now has a career haul of three Commonwealth silver medals and two bronzes and is already eyeing a complete set at Victoria 2026.

She said: "It's growing, but I will have to come back in four years as there is one missing that I really want.

"But it has been a brilliant Games for me. It has been such a big team effort to build and get here.

"I have had a lot of very good support, so it's great to come away with something to show for all of the hard work."

The race, staged in and around Warwick, was dictated by a controlling Australian group of six intent on shutting down each and every breakaway attempt to lead out Georgia Baker.

Scotland’s Anna Shackley had a go in vain with 7km to go but it helped her and Evans position themselves well for the sprint, with Canada and New Zealand trains also prominent.

Evans said "We knew there were a few big, strong teams here, so the plan was to just try and follow any moves and don't do any work.

“Then, if it came to a bunch sprint, we would do what we could. Wing it.”

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Evans came back firing after a superb performance at London’s velodrome, where she was a key figure in the scratch race, took points race silver and individual pursuit bronze.

She has been all about the track for some time now, a key figure in Great Britain’s Olympic team pursuit squad.

But good legs are good legs and she found them at the last to spring left of the back and overhaul all but Baker, who was joined on the podium by team-mate Sarah Roy.

Evans said: "There was a bit of panic. I was thinking, 'When do I go, when do I go, when do I go?'

"It's very different to the track [cycling], so I was guessing a bit. I had no idea how much of a sprint I would have at the end of 112km. I'm chuffed."

There were two near misses in the badminton with both Kirsty Gilmour and the mixed doubles pairing of Adam Hall and Julie MacPherson finishing fourth.

Gilmour had CT scans on her spine two weeks before she carried the flag at the opening ceremony in Birmingham after a training injury caused swelling in her facet joints.

She was diagnosed with spondylosis, a type of arthritis in the back, or as she described it “old sports spine” but after plenty of physio went on to take fourth place in the women’s singles.

The two-time Commonwealth medallist lost a titanic semi-final tussle with Canada’s Michelle Li, who beat her in the Glasgow 2014 final, 23-21 21-23 18-21 before missing out on bronze with a 14-21 20-22 defeat to Singapore’s Jia Min Yeo.

She said: “Before the Games I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to know I was getting scans.

“So, to come here and get to a good level and put in good performances is great as I didn’t think I would even make these Games.

“In the first week it impacted me quite a bit but this week and the last two days I don’t want to use that as an excuse at all. I was playing good badminton and got my back to a good place.

“I guess I might look back on it and be happy but right now it’s hard.”

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