Will Routley had his hopes for a Commonwealth Games medal washed away on a rainy course in Glasgow, Scotland, on the weekend, but the Whistler cyclist was far from the only racer whose bid for the podium ended well before the finish line.
There were 139 riders on the start line for the men's road race on Sunday, Aug. 3, but Routley was among the 127 competitors who did not finish the winding, highly technical circuit course that was only made more difficult by a torrential downpour.
"I'm a little disappointed, obviously," Routley said Tuesday, Aug. 5, after returning to North America. "I went over there hoping to do something, but in the end, 12 guys finished the race, so that's just kind of how it went."
Geraint Thomas of Wales captured the gold medal, while silver and bronze went to New Zealand's Jack Bauer and England's Scott Thwaites, respectively.
Finishing about three-quarters of the course, Routley hung around longer than most of the field on Sunday, but the 31-year-old said there was simply no room for error on a day when roads were flooding on course.
"The only way you were going to do well was being on a really special day, and everything had to go just perfectly for you," he said. "It was so technical and there were so many corners, you never really got up to any speed. It was nothing but accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake.
"Anybody who had a flat or a little crash or a mishap, there was no coming back. There was no chance."
Routley added that the conditions for Sunday's event were "right up there with some of the worst" he's seen. Getting cold midway through the race, he dropped back to the team car to grab a jacket, but fell off the back after that.
"It was such a tight course that there wasn't even time to do that much," he said.
No Canadians were among the 12 finishers on Sunday. Overall, Canada finished the Glasgow Games with 82 medals, including 32 gold, to place third on the medal table behind England (174) and Australia (137).
Routley was making his second trip to the Commonwealth Games, and said he didn't take in as much of the sights around the multi-sport event compared to 2010 in India.
"I'd done it once before and this time I wanted to focus more on the event... I got in some good rides around the countryside and saw a little bit that way," he said, adding that it was nice to reconnect with former teammates like Svein Tuft and Zach Bell, who were also part of Canada's crew for cycling events in Glasgow.
Routley is now in Colorado to acclimatize to elevation before the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, taking place Aug. 18 to 24. Portions of that race climb above 3,250 metres (11,000 feet), so he's hopeful a couple weeks getting prepared will put him in position to be a factor as he returns to his Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies pro team.
"Hopefully I'll find one more good performance here in the last couple races of the year to go out on a high note," said Routley, who will join Optum at the Tour of Alberta in September as well.
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