NATIONAL cyclist Muhammad I’maadi Abd Aziz was just one of the numerous riders who were unable to finish yesterday’s men's road race at the Commonwealth Games.
T he tough 168 km race saw only 12 contestants finish the course, and according to the BBC, many of the 140 starters dropped out before the end of the 12 laps of the 14km circuit around the centre of Glasgow.
The race was I’maadi’s last event at the Games.
Brunei’s only contestant at the Games, I’mmadi also competed in qualifiers for the men's 20km scratch race and the men’s 40km points race.
He was forced to retire from the former after being one of the two riders left behind by a big group of cyclists, and in the latter, he finished 13th in the field of 17 cyclists.
The men’s 40km points race qualifiers proved to be his best performance as the top-12 cyclists progressed to the final.
Prior to yesterday’s road race, I’maadi said that he was targeting a top-30 finish as that would already be considered a “gold medal” to him.
In the end, though, only a dozen cyclists – none of them Asian - completed a course which saw Welshman Geraint Thomas claim top spot.
THOMAS SURVIVES LATE PUNCTURE TO LAND ROAD RACE GOLD
Thomas overcame the drama of a late puncture in treacherous conditions to win the men's road race with 4:13:05.
Thomas, who took bronze in the time trial on Wednesday, appeared to be cruising to victory before he came to a standstill with around six kilometres left of the 168-km slog through continual rain.
The 28-year-old had to wait what seemed an age to have a new wheel fitted but kept his composure and had enough time in hand on pursuers Jack Bauer of New Zealand, who claimed silver (4:14:26) and England's Scott Thwaites (4:14:26) to take the title.
“That was such a grim day,” Thomas told the BBC.
“To be honest, I felt terrible at the start.
“I was thinking of just stopping, I felt that bad. But then everyone else seemed to come down to my level.
“I was surprised how easily I went away. When I had the puncture I thought 'What have I got to do?' but fortunately I had a decent enough gap to stay in front.
“It was a good day in the end.”
England's Lizzie Armitstead, who won silver medals at Delhi in 2010 and the London 2012 Olympics, took gold in the women's 98-km road race.
Armitstead finished 25 seconds ahead of compatriot Emma Pooley, who cried as she crossed the finish line in the final race of her career, while South Africa's Ashleigh Pasio was third.
“This is something I have always dreamed about; it means so much to me. I am always a runner-up,” Armitstead said.
“I am really happy.
“That was the best cycling teamwork I have ever been a part of. It's such a shame Emma is retiring today, it was a fantastic job from her and all the girls, I am really proud of them.”
The Brunei Times, Reuters