There was so much to analyze after the individual races on day one of the Commonwealth Games – here’s Lucy Buckingham with her expert verdict on the main talking points of the men’s event:
For me, Hayden Wildewas the performance of the day in the men’s race, won by Alex Yee. Especially since he showed such great sportsmanship after receiving this penalty.
I think that penalty was very controversial; I’ve thought about it many times and I know the officials do their job and we don’t want anyone getting that unfair advantage.
But from what I could see, his front wheel on his bike went into the rack and then he unclipped (which is legal and not a violation). From what I could see in the footage, he didn’t unclip the helmet before breaking his head.
For me, personally, I still think I would have supported Alex to win, but I think the last 200 meters would have been really exciting. And it just took that away, a little bit.
But the way Hayden behaved, knowing full well that he had been awarded a penalty, I just thought that was really mature and really great to see. And yes, the performance of the day.
Going back a bit, the swimming start was crazy in both races, although it probably had more impact in the women.
I was surprised to see Matt Hauser back off after being up there for the first five minutes, but that’s when Tayler Reid came on top and did a great job of keeping the swim at a high pace because obviously Henri Schoeman didn’t line up, which changed things a bit.
Dan Dixon also had an amazing swim and stuck with those guys, but then on the bike it was top three against the chasing pack.
Goals lined up in the hunting group
The chase group all had the same goal of not wanting these top three to go too far down the road, which meant they worked well together – at least after a while.
Sam Dickinson obviously did an amazing job, but people were taking turns at the front like Ollie Turner from Jersey.
Up front, Wilde spent a lot of time up front, doing everything he could to make sure they were going to stay away. Without taking anything away from Reid and Jamie Riddle, but it was Wilde who was doing the most to maintain that gap.
I think it took the chasers a few laps, but they started to work better towards the end and that’s when we saw the gap narrowing a bit more. It was a bit of a classic situation, but Dixon and Dickinson did a really good job on the bike to get that time gap down to 15 seconds at T2.
Yee floats forward
The race was super hilly and I guess historically in the World Series and the Olympics you don’t have hilly courses. It is usually the bike course that is the hilliest terrain. So I actually think it played a lot more into Alex’s hands because he just floats them.
But you can never take that away from Alex. He kept his cool and ran away with it.
Something awesome is happening with Hayden and Alex. They have a really good relationship with each other. It’s like they can come to a starting line and race with all their hearts and then cross the line and be really respectful of each other and actually be like friends in a way.
And I think it’s great that we can do that in this sport. It takes a lot for an athlete to be able to do that. So that shows how impressive they are.
You’re watching the BBC today tweeting that punch between the pair – it’s so good for our sport to go out to a wider audience, it’s really getting it out there and it looks so good.
Hats off to Hauser
We also saw Hauser being very smart as well. He knew the English were going to chase Hayden, Reid and Riddle and he just avoided trouble in the chasing pack, but also made sure he kept his legs up for the race.
He’s been running really well in training recently and he’s got some great training partners, so I think he’s been playing very smart.
Nice problem to have
Looking ahead to Sunday’s relay, the England squad have two solid options to offer alongside Alex on the men’s side. It’s a tough choice but in my humble opinion, I think it could be Dan Dixon. He has a very strong swim on him. He obviously rides very well and his running just keeps getting better. So I think he would make a very good addition to a very strong relay.
That said, Sam has proven he has a really good leg up on him in terms of the stints like we saw in Hamburg and I think he could do a really good job too, so that’s a good problem to to have for the England team.
In the end, Dan and Sam showed incredible maturity to do everything they could to help Alex win gold on day one and it was obvious they were both super happy when they crossed the line.