The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Thomas crashes out as Carapaz grabs the glory

- By Mike Keegan

GERAINT THOMAS joked that he ‘must have done something bad in a previous life’ after a crash obliterate­d his road race dreams for the second Olympics in a row.

The Welshman (pictured) hit the tarmac early in a brutal, yet beautiful route in the shadows of Mount Fuji following a collision with team-mate Tao Geoghegan-Hart which left him left battered and bloodied as Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz pulled off a stunning victory.

Adam Yates led the way for Team GB and remained in contention for silver until a sprint for the finish line dropped him back to a creditable ninth.

An emotional Ineos Grenadier Carapaz, who finished third in the Tour de France, picked up Ecuador’s second Games gold following countryman Jefferson Perez’s success in the 20km walk at Atlanta in 1996.

The 28-year-old timed his breakaway to perfection, leaving the rest of the field to battle for second place.

A minute and seven seconds later Belgium’s Wout van Aert outsprinte­d Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar to cross the line and take silver.

Thomas, who bravely got back in the saddle but admitted defeat with around 60km to go, was famously in the leading group at the same event in Rio five years ago when he hit the floor on a descent.

The 35-year-old has also seen his last three majors disrupted by crashes and was left to contemplat­e his poor fortune. ‘All good with me,’ he tweeted after the fall left him with open wounds to his elbow and shoulder. ‘Think I must have done something bad in a previous life. Freak crash, Tao lost his front wheel and decked it in front of me. I had nowhere to go other than the floor as well.’

A philosophi­cal Yates, whose brother Simon finished 17th, was left with no regrets despite seeing GeogheganH­art also withdraw. ‘We did the race how we wanted to,’ the Bury rider said. ‘I think we did the best we could. None of us had the ideal prep going in. I hadn’t ridden for a long time and the other boys came here either tired, or banged and bruised.’

Yates, 28, hailed the winner. ‘Super for him,’ he said. ‘To be honest, I’m not even sure where he went off the front. So sneaky move, it shows he came out of the Tour flying. Massive congrats to him.’

The riders finished in front of around 10,000 at the Fuji Internatio­nal Speedway circuit, with venues outside Tokyo allowed to host up to 50-per-cent capacity. In a heartwarmi­ng sight, thousands more lined the streets of the gruelling 234km course.

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