Martin seeking to shrug off bad luck, Van Avermaet chasing Classic win: Daily News Digest

by Shane Stokes

April 13, 2018

In today’s Daily News Digest: Martin seeking to shrug off bad luck and land success in Ardennes Classics; Van Avermaet trying to land first Classic win of 2018 in Amstel Gold; Strong QuickStep Floors trio announced for Amstel Gold Race; Verschueren out of competition due to malignant brain tumour; New Zealand men tussle for MTB gold, England’s Last takes women’s; Easton adds new gravel and adventure gearing options for EC90 SL crankset; Yeti builds a downhiller’s cross country bike, the SB100; Inaugural Australian Gravel National Championships announced; Boulie safety upgrade revealed; Video: The people of Paris-Roubaix; Video: Phil Gaimon’s “Worst Retirement Ever.” Taiwan KOM Challenge, Part 2: The race

New Zealand men tussle for MTB gold, England’s Last takes women’s

by Simone Giuliani

The men’s mountain bike race at the Commonwealth Games started off with a great show of teamwork from the New Zealand riders, with all three charging out the front together with only South African rider Alan Hatherly able to keep up. But the race didn’t exactly end with the same level of co-operation.

In the final lap when in-form New Zealander Samuel Gaze suffered a flat tyre, teammate Anton Cooper took the opportunity to put in a huge dig, creating a massive gap for Gaze to bridge to get back to the front where Cooper was being chased by Hatherly.

With an incredible turn of speed the man who ended Nino Schurter’s phenomenal winning streak first bridged back to the South African and next his teammate Cooper. Then with Gaze clearly on a charge to get past, Cooper shifted across the track to block. The pair rubbed elbows but Gaze got the front spot and then out-sprinted Cooper to take Gold and reverse the first and second positions of four years ago.

Today I’ve let myself down, not by my ability to ride my bike. But my ability to uphold my values. I am an emotionally driven guy, and that emotion won me gold today, but also lost the credit of doing it right. Read below: I’m a competitive guy and when I had that issue with my bike I thought my dream was over. I reacted badly and want to apologise for my words and my actions. I am really embarrassed for how I acted and how the impact of how special of a day it was for New Zealand Cycling was tainted by my actions. I respect Anton and his ability to race hard and fast and I regret the way that I spoke right after the race. He is an incredible rider and together we put on a really exciting race today. I was proud that we could finish one-two again like we did in Glasgow and am grateful for the talent we are growing in New Zealand. I have caught up with Anton and apologised personally, but I wanted to let the NZ Team here on the Gold Coast and the NZ public know that I acted in the heat of the moment and will work on making sure this type of action doesn’t happen again. Thanks for everyone’s support. I am sorry that my actions have affected the public’s view of how really special these Games have been. Thank you for understand and for the support. Sam.

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In the women’s race one nation similarly dominated, but this time it was a much cleaner first and second for the two English teammates.

Annie Last and U23 cyclocross world champion Evie Richards took off out the front early. Then Last pulled ahead to take a clear win and deliver England its first Commonwealth Games gold in the discipline.