Glasgow: Australia’s Commonwealth Games petered out in uninspiring fashion on Sunday afternoon in the men’s road race.
Nothing went right for the six-man unit in horrendous Glasgow conditions with only two riders able to finish the race won by fist-pumping Welsh rider Geraint Thomas.
It summed up a below-par Commonwealth Games for Australia, who failed to win the medal tally for the first time since 1986.
The road-race carnage began a third of the way into the race when time-trial silver medalist Rohan Dennis took a heavy tumble, ending his race and throwing the Australian gameplan out the window.
At the time he was linking the peloton with runaway leader Peter Kennaugh.
Michael Hepburn, Nathan Haas and Simon Clarke also didn’t complete the grueling circuit with only Mark Renshaw (5th) and Caleb Ewan (12th) making it home.
“That was a big loss seeing Rohan crash, he’d already ridden a lap and a half on the front at a good tempo and was holding Kennaugh at 45 seconds one minute,” Renshaw said.
“We missed him but when crashes happen on this circuit you’re not going to come back ever.
“We chased the majority of the start of the race with no help so we made sure the race came down to that moment where we started to go.
“The plan we had we didn’t exactly execute it with Kennaugh going straight away. He was a man that we should’ve been marking, we shouldn’t have let go at the start.
“That’s how the race panned out. We changed our plans pretty quick. We chased the majority of the start of the race with no help so we made sure the race came down to that moment where we started to go.
“We made the racing and I think we did a good race but unfortunately the result doesn’t show.”
Renshaw could have finished closer but was cruelled by bad luck throughout.
As Thomas, silver medalist John Bauer and third-placed Scott Thwaites attacked Kennaugh, who led for the first eight laps, Renshaw was forced to switch his front wheel to fix a puncture.
He then switched bikes two laps later, not happy with the tyre he was using in the slippery conditions.
The 31-year-old managed to recover somewhat though and was only narrowly beaten for fourth in the dying stages by Englishman Russell Downing.
Ewan enjoyed a smoother 12 laps throughout and was the first rider to go out after the leading trio, but he also ran out of juice.
“It was then or never, I had to go full gas and unluckily I just didn’t get there in the end and blew pretty big after that,” the 20-year-old Sydney product said.
“It was pretty bad for him [Dennis] to crash then because I still think he had a fair bit left in the tank and he could’ve kept going for a bit longer which would’ve meant Heppy [Hepburn] could’ve gone for longer as well.
“We ran out of guys a little bit early. With the conditions, and a tough race, we had everyone watching us as well and we did most of the chasing through the day.
“It’s cycling really you have some good days and some not so good days.”
Earlier on Australian Tiffany Cromwell narrowly missed bronze in the women’s road race, pipped in a thrilling sprint finish by South African Ashleigh Pasio.
England’s Lizzie Armitstead denied teammate Emma Pooley a retirement gold medal with a clinical performance finishing 25 seconds clear of her 31-year-old compatriot, who picked up her second silver medal of the Commonwealth Games after finishing second in the time trial.
Pooley crossed the line in tears having announced she’ll retire from competitive cycling after a glittering career, and looks to have left the sport in capable English hands.