Michele Smith let caution guide him through the winds and rains of Scotland. Smith, 44, wrapped up the XX Commonwealth Games for the Cayman Islands by pulling out of the Men’s Road Race event on Sunday. Smith voluntarily chose to end his Games within the first three laps of the 12-lap event, which spanned 172 kilometers through downtown Glasgow.
Smith, who carried the Cayman flag during the opening ceremony for the Games, said the conditions were not favorable for a good ride.
“That’s kind of a hard one to say,” Smith said. “It’s a technical course. If you’re not in the right position from the start, I mean you stand no chance of getting to the front. From the race start, I was about 45 seconds from the front of the group. So it was just strung out right from the start. You had the big teams and they wanted to drop the smaller countries to get rid of the danger. Also the course is technical and with the wet conditions that even makes it worse. We didn’t have to make any adjustments to the road bike for this race. They don’t really check your road bikes as much as they check your time trial bikes and that’s just the way the Union Cycliste Internationale is.”
Smith was far from the only rider to pull out, whether voluntarily or through injury or mechanical failures. There were 140 riders that started Sunday’s race, only 12 ended up crossing the line with the others receiving Did Not Finish results.
Geraint Thomas of Wales would take the gold medal in four hours, 13 minutes and five seconds. Jack Bauer of New Zealand grabbed the silver and Scott Thwaites of England took the bronze in a photo finish as both riders had identical times of 4:14:26.
Smith’s road race performance comes after placing 36th out of 60 riders in the 40km time trial with a mark of 58:49:64. He was well off the pace set by gold medalist Alex Dowsett of England (47:41.78), silver medalist Rohan Dennis of Australia (47:51.08) and bronze medalist Thomas of Wales (47:55.82).
Smith said he will not be dismayed by his results.
“I think it turned out well. Like I told you after the time trial, I came here with two expectations. One was a personal record in the time trial and the other was to finish the road race. You know, we all come into different events with goals, not to say we’re going to achieve them because there are a lot of variables on that day.
The race had just started and I think it was like 130 that started. You had big teams like Canada that had already dropped out of the race. So, at the end of the day, you’d be lucky if 40 participants finish.”
Off the bike, Cayman also had less than stellar finishes. Cayman's squash players lost their final mixed doubles contests as Marlene West and Cameron Stafford were defeated by the Republic of Northern Ireland while Daniel Murphy and Eilidh Bridgeman were beaten by Scotland. Julian Jervis and Myron Blair were eliminated in the men's doubles by Wales. On the track, the 4x100m relay squad of Tyrell Cuffy, David Hamil, Kemar Hyman and Troy Long would be eliminated in the preliminary heats, placing fifth out of six teams with a time of 40.50 secs. Led by Usain Bolt, Jamaica would win gold in 37.58 secs, England took silver in 38.02 secs and Trinidad and Tobago grabbed bronze in 38.10 secs.
The last official act for Cayman’s 26-member Games team was taking part in Sunday night’s closing ceremony at Hampden Park. From there, the team will travel back home on Monday and Tuesday.