After nearly four hours of hard slog, the New Zealand men’s road cycling team were disappointed not to get among the medals today.
The gold medal in the gruelling 168km race went to Australian strongman Steele van Hoff in 3h 57min 01s, from Jonathan Mould of Wales and Clint Hendricks of South Africa.
There were five New Zealanders in the final sprint. Hayden McCormick finished fifth, Shane Archbold sixth, mountain bike king Sam Gaze 10th, James Oram 11th and Jack Bauer 13th. James Christie led the second group home and finished 16th.
The New Zealanders looked likely to be among the medals when the final lap began. They had five riders still involved, and no other country had more than two.
But the Australians had done a good job for van Hoff and he finished things off with a devastating sprint. Considering he was said to have broken his spine seven weeks ago, it was an amazing result.
Experienced New Zealand rider Bauer was full of praise for the Australians afterwards.
“It was pretty clear the Aussies took it upon themselves to ride all day,” he said. “They had a man in the break and they rode one man back into the lead group. They did the lion’s share of the work and we really got a free ride all day.”
He said that with five in the final group, the New Zealanders tried a few times to break the field.
“All the boys had a dig at one time or another. It became clear von Hoff was not getting dropped. He climbed like an animal, and he was the fastest man here – we all knew that.”
Bauer said the New Zealanders tried to shut down the final group over the last couple of kilometres and it was Archbold who they figured was their best bet in a sprint finish.
“It just didn’t happen. The Aussies got it right and all credit to them. They rode all day and were on every move and they won. They dedicated themselves to one guy and he delivered.”
“We’re very disappointed not to even get on the podium. The boys put in a great ride and I’m proud of them, but at the end of the day we have no medals to show for it.”Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games James Oram Samuel Gaze Jack Bauer Jason Christie Shane Archbold Cycling - Road