Australia’s two-time individual world time trial champion Rohan Dennis on Thursday won Commonwealth Games gold as former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas took bronze despite a crash.
Dennis’ victory over the 37.4km course in 46 minutes, 21.24 seconds made it a clean sweep for Australia after favorite Grace Brown won the women’s event over 28.8km.
Dennis, the 2014 Commonwealth silver medalist, made it to the top of the podium after winning in Wolverhampton, England.
“I’ve finally got that top step,” said the 32-year-old, who won silver in the team pursuit on the track at the 2012 Olympics. “It’s taken 12 years, since Delhi [the 2010 Games]. I definitely didn’t come close to that top step there, but 12 years later I finally got it. But it is a different feeling being on that top step.”
Thomas’ hopes of adding time trial gold to the road race title he won in 2014 were dashed when he fell early in the ride.
He picked himself up, but had to settle for bronze behind England’s Fred Wright, who took silver.
The 2018 Tour de France winner said he had only himself to blame for the fall.
“I did a recon [reconnaissance] ride, but that was in traffic with no barriers up so it was pretty pointless really,” Thomas said. “I was thinking it was a sweeping left and suddenly it was barriers with a leg sticking out. Sometimes it’s bad luck, but today I’ll take it on the chin and say it was my fault. It’s frustrating, but to still come away with a medal is satisfying.”
Thomas, who finished third in the Tour de France last month, has another chance of gold in tomorrow’s road race.
However, the 36-year-old faces a formidable rival in the form of the Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish.
“Once we start it won’t be friendly at all,” Thomas said. “Cav has got a strong team around him and it’s a good course for him. It is going to be a war of attrition.”
Brown said she had tried not to think too much about having “the target” of being favorite on her back.
“It’s a landmark” the 30-year-old said. “From an Australian perspective, to be a gold medalist at a Commonwealth Games is something Australian sport acknowledges. That’s super special, despite the fact cycling in the Commonwealth Games isn’t huge.”
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