Anna Henderson and Fred Wright stormed to sensational silver medals in Wolverhampton, while Geraint Thomas claimed the bronze in the individual time trials at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Henderson and Wright showed excellent displays of power to claim the women’s and men’s silver medals for Team England, while Thomas suffered an early crash, leaving him to gain a bronze for Wales.
England’s Wright led the first wave of men’s riders, completing the 37.4km circuit in a blistering 46:47.52 to put him in the hot seat two minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.
Wright blitzed around the tactical course with ease, showing the same determination he displayed at this year’s Tour de France.
As the second wave of riders got underway, Thomas was down as the favourite for gold, but knew he would be challenged by Australian Rohan Dennis.
Disaster struck early on for the Welshman, slipping in a corner and colliding with a barrier just two minutes into the race, losing 30 seconds as he got back on his bike.
England’s Dan Bigham also suffered a hard crash into a barrier on a tight bend around the halfway mark, forcing him to change bikes and finish back in 12th place overall.
Former world champion Dennis clocked 46:21.24 to claim the gold medal after a very impressive ride, while Thomas came in 28 seconds back – two seconds behind Wright – to settle for the bronze.
Scotland’s John Archibald came in sixth, Owain Doull of Wales took seventh, Darren Rafferty of Northern Ireland came eighth and the Isle of Man’s Tyler Hannay finished in 16th.
Wright said: “I knew I was in good shape after the Tour de France and I’m so happy with that. I think that’s one of the best time trials I’ve ever ridden.
“You can only do your best – whether you come out with a medal or fourth – and I got to the finish and knew that was all the effort I could put in. We executed the plan perfectly.
“It’s so special. Even the fans on the steep climb today – there’s that feeling of people coming into their own as you’re coming up and it pushes you on so much more. I just love riding my bike.”
Henderson rode a perfectly executed race on her Commonwealth debut for Team England, showing pure power and speed to take the silver medal in 40:38.55 on the undulating 28.8km course.
The 23-year-old remained in the hot seat until the final rider of the day, Grace Brown of Australia, took the gold medal in 40:05.20.
New Zealand’s Georgia Williams claimed bronze, while Manx riders Lizzie Holden and Becky Storrie took fifth and sixth respectively. Elynor Backstedt from Wales finished in eighth, and Scotland’s Anna Shackley placed in tenth.
Henderson, who studied at the University of Birmingham, said: “Grace Brown looked so good yesterday and she’s such a strong rider, she looked great in the Tour [de France Femmes] so I’m really chuffed to come second to her.
“After feeling not super great in the Tour and the last few days, I’m really happy to feel good on the bike and have a good time trial.
“It was mega – you don’t realise you’re at a home Games until everyone is screaming your name and screaming for England. I kept thinking ‘oh wow, I am in an England kit, so I better move’ – just really happy to feel good on the bike and really happy with second.”
The Commonwealth Games cycling programme concludes with the road races on Sunday.