England’s Alex Dowsett produced a stunning ride to win Commonwealth Games gold ahead of Rohan Dennis (Australia) and Geraint Thomas (Wales) in a thrilling men’s time trial.
Dowsett has endured a frustrating summer, losing his national time trial title to Sir Bradley Wiggins, who did not ride in Glasgow, and missing out on a spot in Movistar’s Tour de France squad after falling ill at the Tour de Suisse.
But the Essex-born rider used that double disappointment to bounce back by upgrading the silver medal he won in Delhi four years ago to gold.
“Nobody wanted that more than I did after the disappointment of not being picked for the Tour de France and the silver in Delhi in 2010,” Dowsett told BBC Sport.
“I’ve been angry all this month, ever since I was a kid I have pulled something out of the bag when I have been really angry. It’s pretty special that.”
Thomas, who finished 22nd in the Tour de France, added: “I was bit unsure what to expect in terms of my fitness. I just felt strong. I didn’t felt fresh or zippy as such but felt I could just smash it.
“Before the next time trial I do I’m going to send Alex Dowsett some flowers. Make sure he is happy and maybe we will have a chat.”
A high-class field assembled in Glasgow without a clear favourite, with Dowsett, Thomas, Scotland’s David Millar, New Zealander Jesse Sergent, Canada’s Svein Tuft, and the Australian trio of Dennis, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn all capable of securing a medal.
Julian Bellido of Gibraltar was the first man to finish and stopped the clock in 58:49.28 minutes but it was Tuft, one of three riders, with Thomas and Durbridge, to have completed the Tour de France before heading to Scotland, who was the first of the medal hopes to start and the Canadian soon established himself as the fastest man on the road.
Tuft, his country’s reigning road race and time trial champion, clocked 48:33.24 minutes as he crossed the finish line to set the time to beat on the 40km course, but behind him a three-way battle quickly developed between Dowsett, Dennis and Thomas, while it was soon evident there would be no fairytale ending for Millar, the defending champion, and the Scotsman would not be in the hunt for a medal in what is the 37-year-old’s final season as a professional cyclist, eventually finishing eighth and more than two minutes off the pace.
Dowsett was fastest through the first two time check ahead of Dennis and Thomas respectively, with only a handful of seconds separating the top three, but the 25-year-old, who rides for the Movistar trade team, dropped to third at the final time check, five seconds behind Dennis, as gold seemed to be slipping out of the Englishman’s grasp.
Thomas was the first of the three riders to cross the finish line, clocking 47:55.82 minutes, before Dennis bettered the Team Sky rider’s effort by just four seconds in a time that looked good for gold.
However, Dowsett recovered and made the most of the downhill and technical run-in to the finish, overturning that deficit and eventually stopping the clock in 47:41.78 minutes to beat Dennis’ mark by nine seconds to capture a title which has been at the forefront of his mind since the start of the season.
Commonwealth Games 2014: men’s individual time trial – result
1) Alex Dowsett (England) – 47:41.78
2) Rohan Dennis (Australia) +9″
3) Geraint Thomas (Wales) +14″
4) Svein Tuft (Canada) +51″
5) Jesse Sergent (New Zealand) +52″
6) Michael Hepburn (Australia) +1’29”
7) Steve Cummings (England) +1’33”
8) David Millar (Scotland) +2’14”