Sunday, May 19, 2024

Commonwealth Games 2014 – Road Race, Elite Men. Geraint Thomas the Biggest Bear

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HomeRaceRace ReviewsCommonwealth Games 2014 - Road Race, Elite Men. Geraint Thomas the Biggest...

Geraint ThomasWe were there, walking the streets and parks of Glasgow – until the Monsoons came and discretion became the better part of valour at which times the words of Doctor Samuel Johnson have never rang more true;

‘There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.’

Especially if it has an HD tele…

Here’s the VeloVeritas take on our day in Glasgow – the good and the not so good.

1. Geraint Thomas, the biggest bear

It was 2007 when we first met up with Geraint Thomas, he was 21 years-old and riding the Tour de France in Claudio Corti’s Barloworld team along with a certain Christopher Froome.

They’ve both come along way since then – Thomas has been a multiple Worlds and Olympics gold medal winner and record holder; he’s won stages in major races and established himself as one of the best Classics riders in the world – he was third in the E3, seventh in Paris-Roubaix and eighth in Flanders, this year.

And on Sunday on the streets of Glasgow he proved that his ‘grinta‘ is beyond question.

Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas just before puncturing on the last lap. Photo©Martin Williamson

As we watched the race unfold, in our bar – and hoped that bronchitis wasn’t setting in – our hearts said; ‘Bauer’ but our heads said; ‘Thomas.’

We had thought it would be Thwaites who made the move on the long drag up Saint Vincent Street towards the West End but it was Thomas; and once he was gone, he was gone – despite the best efforts of neutral service to thwart him, but more of that later.

An Epic race and a brilliant winner – there’s little else to say.

Geraint Thomas
Geraint Thomas struggled through the first part of the pace. Photo©Martin WIlliamson

2. Lizzie Armitstead, la course en tête

Olympic silver and now Commonwealth gold, there’s little doubt that Ms. Armitstead is now firmly established as one of the best in the world – and she won in the grand manner, alone and with no need to demonstrate her killer sprint.

Geraint Thomas
Lizzie Armitstead. Photo©Martin Williamson

3. Glasgow Skyline

In a word, glorious.

Whilst we love the hi-tech towers of the city centre there’s little to beat the splendour of the spires and sandstone of the West End – and to have so much greenery is a luxury many big cities don’t enjoy.

A fitting backdrop to a great race.

Geraint Thomas
Glasgow skyline. Photo©Ed Hood

4. Ladies peloton – oh dear

But now, we take off the rose tinted glasses.

Whilst we’re constantly told that ladies racing should enjoy the same exposure, kudos and prizes as the men, on this display that’s wishful thinking.

Despite being out-classed by the World Tour mastodons the male riders from the lesser cycling nations continued to race as best they could until they succumbed or were pulled out.

The ladies peloton – we exclude the lead group from these comments – meanwhile, chatted, smiled and ambled around the circuit in what was a major shop window and advert for their sport.

If the girls in that peloton are serious about wishing to raise the profile and level of their sport then they should put on a show for their public.

And it would be interesting to hear what their management have to say; ‘well, she was saving herself for the sprint – for eighth place…’

Geraint Thomas
The race is up the road. Photo©Ed Hood

5. Glasgow Rain

There’s rain and there’s rain.

This rain came straight from the rain forests, turned a tough day into a Norse Saga but did force us into a rather nice bar…

Geraint Thomas
Svein Tuft in the monsoon. Photo©Martin Williamson

 6. Neutral Service, dear dear

It’s a good job Geraint Thomas is a laid back character; I remember seeing a video of when Raymond Poulidor punctured a front tyre in Paris-Roubaix back in the 60’s.

Unhappy with the mechanic’s wheel change, ‘Pou Pou’ was cuffing the poor soul around the ears as he squatted in the mud and tried to adjust the quick release between dodging the blows.

We know it’s not helped by that daft UCI rule about having ‘tabs’ on the front fork ends but the wheel change Geraint was subjected to when he punctured on the last lap whilst alone in the lead really was a shocker.

7. Peter Kennaugh’s 100 klometre plus time trial

Cav reckons it was a ‘gutsy ride’ – if it was part of the Sky plan to soften the Aussies up for Geraint then that’s fine.

If not then; ‘what the hell was that all about?‘ or maybe he was training for the ‘100’ – he had enough watts to win from where we were watching.

Geraint Thomas
Peter Kennaugh. Photo©Martin Williamson

8. Caleb Ewan, gets it wrong

It’s not often the Aussies get it wrong – but we simply could not figure out what was this very talented young man was trying to achieve.

There was no way he was going to bridge, he should have dropped back to Renshaw and Clark – but it’s always easy to direct a race in front of a tele with a brandy in your hand.

Geraint Thomas
Caleb Ewan. Photo©Martin Williamson

9. School of Art

So sad to see one of Glasgow and Scotland’s great buildings so horribly scarred – we hope it won’t be long until it’s restored to it’s former glory.

Geraint Thomas
Glasgow School of Art. Photo©Ed Hood

10. Poncho Envy

Callum and I were ashamed of ourselves, but we did suffer from ‘poncho envy’ when we saw these Tunnock’s Tea Cake ponchos.

Castelli thermal tops?

Keep them, just give us the tea cake jobs!

Geraint Thomas
Tunnock’s Tea Cake Ponchos! Photo©Ed Hood

11. Arnold Clark

But that said, grateful thanks to Mr. Arnold Clark and the lovely young ladies who dispensed free ponchos to us – we’d be in intensive care if it wasn’t for your generosity.

Geraint Thomas
Arnold Clark rainwear. Photo©Ed Hood

12. No Mean City

If you want to know what Glasgow was between the wars then read, ‘No Mean City’ a harrowing but painfully truthful account of the city’s darker side.

And sometimes when you look along those dark alleys, just off the glamorous boulevards…

Geraint Thomas
No mean city. Photo©Ed Hood

13. Shane Archbold, hero

He’s another of the ‘good guys’ unaffected by his abilities and successes as a bike rider – he goes away from these Games with a gold from the scratch, bronze from the team pursuit and perhaps the ‘man of the match’ award in the road race for setting things up perfectly for Jack Bauer when the conditions were at their absolute worst.