Aaron Gate of New Zealand landed his fourth gold medal of the Commonwealth Games 2022 with an excellent victory in the men’s road race.
Geraint Thomas launched a dramatic late attack hoping to avoid a sprint finish and secure the gold medal for Wales. However, Fred Wright of Team England along with the remnants of the day’s leading group hauled back the Welshman.
Wright opened up his sprint for the line, but Gate would simply have too much speed and sailed past the Londoner and Daryl Impey of South Africa to win another impressive gold medal.
Impey would be forced to settle for silver with Finn Crockett of Scotland taking the bronze medal in an impressive display for the home nations.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After Georgia Baker won the women’s road race earlier in the day, the men’s action got underway in similar excellent racing conditions on the Warwickshire circuit. Rohan Dennis of Australia won the gold medal in the men’s time trial on Thursday, however he was taken unwell before the road race and would not feature.
It was a fast and frenetic start on the 160 kilometre course, with several teams trying to force a break and form an early gap as they began the ten laps. 15 riders eventually established a breakaway that would gradually begin to stick.
The group quickly built up a gap that soon became more than two minutes and it consisted of multiple strong WorldTour riders. Nine riders from the home nations were present, including Geraint Thomas of Team Wales, the Isle of Man’s Ben Swift, Team England’s Ben Turner, Fred Wright and Sam Watson, Scotland’s Sean Flynn and Finn Crockett, and Northern Ireland’s Matthew Teggart. Other WorldTour riders including Daryl Impey of South Africa and Lucas Plapp of Australia were part of the breakaway, meaning that it contained serious strength in depth for the peloton to battle with.
With 76 kilometres to go, it was already beginning to appear that the gap was so significant that the medallists would come from the leaders. A third of the field had already climbed off of the bike due to the fast pace being set in the baking hot conditions. Despite the course being of a flat nature with no significant climbs, the general strength of the leaders was what began to do the damage.
45 kilometres left to race and Plapp decided enough was enough. The Australian launched a powerful attack looking to press on. Impey and Watson were straight onto the wheel of Plapp, and it was beginning to create panic behind. Thomas in the red of Team Wales put in a strong turn on the front of the chasers to gradually haul the leading trio back. However, the attacks would keep coming. Turner was the next to launch an acceleration as Team England looked to make their numbers count. Amongst the flurry of accelerations, a four-way attack from Impey, Watson, Aaron Gate of New Zealand and Teggart appeared to be the one that would stick although it was soon closed once again due to the work of Thomas.
As the finish approached, the various attacks over the previous 20 kilometres appeared to be nullified. The leading group were all back together as the kilometres ticked past. Fred Wright, Watson and Impey continued to look lively. Wright would launch another move, and this time, Thomas would push on with the Londoner as the leading group was beginning to descend into chaos. It seemed that nothing was going to separate them.
With just above a single kilometre left to race, Thomas would launch a huge move for Team Wales as he looked to secure another medal at the 2022 games. However, his move proved to be to no effect and the power of Wright along with the other chasers behind the Welshman soon brought him back before the final sprint for the line.
Wright would continue to power towards the finish in a last ditch attempt to land a road race medal, but Impey would soon pass him. Gate of New Zealand opened up his sprint a little late, although he would prove to be too fast for his rivals as he crossed the line in first place.
Gate took his fourth gold medal of the week, with Impey taking silver and Crockett of Scotland landing an impressive bronze medal.
COMMONWEALTH GAMES MEN'S ROAD RACE RESULTS
1: Aaron Gate (New Zealand), in 3-28-29
2. Daryl Impey (South Africa),
3. Finn Crockett (Scotland),
4. Matthew Teggart (Northern Ireland),
5. Fred Wright (England),
6. Lucas Plapp (Australia), at 3s
7. Ben Turner (England), at 18s
8. Geraint Thomas (Wales), at 22s
9. Sam Culverwell (Guernsey), at 24s
10. Sean Flynn (Scotland), at same time
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