Bermuda’s cyclists make their mark in Commonwealth Games time-trial
Bermuda’s cyclists hailed a memorable debut at the Commonwealth Games after highly impressive performances in the men’s time-trial.
With Caitlin Conyers forced out of the women’s race through an undisclosed illness, it was left to the trio of Conor White, Kaden Hopkins and Nicholas Narraway to fly the flag at West Park in Wolverhampton.
Ahead of the race, the contingent spoke of their desire to make a mark in the pinnacle of their careers and they did exactly that.
Hopkins, who had his moment in the spotlight having led the 37.4-kilometre event through the first wave of riders, was eleventh in 50min 0.27sec.
White, who went out in the second wave of riders, finished closely behind, clocking 50:52.19 for 15th while Narraway was 26th in 53:34.82.
Rohan Dennis, of Australia, claimed a dominant gold in 46:21.24, a whopping 26 seconds ahead of England’s Fred Wright in 46:47.52. Pre-race favourite Geraint Thomas, of Wales, settle for third in 46:49.73, having crashed early on what proved a technical course.
Having more than held their own against among a field which included Olympic and world champions, as well Tour de France and World Tour competitors, Bermuda’s riders held their heads high after the race.
“I had a couple of minutes in the leader’s hot seat, which was cool,” said Hopkins, who found himself in fifth after the first wave of riders and overall ahead of Dan Bingham, a bronze medal-winner with Great Britain in the mixed team relay at the World Championships in 2019.
“I wasn’t expecting to sit there very long because I knew what was coming behind me, with some big riders.
“However, I’m really happy with my ride. I feel like I paced it really well, pushed right until the end and didn’t blow up at any point, so I’m delighted.
“We saw that during the last Commonwealth Games that the average gap between the World Tour guys to some of the others was around ten minutes, so to be within three to four minutes of the leader I’m super happy with that.”
White reflected on the challenging nature of the undulating course, while remaining more than content with his performance.
“It was really tough out there and hard to keep a consistent pace up because of all the climbs,” he said.
“I went out pretty hard from the start because of the climbs and tried to recover on some of the descents. I knew the climbs wouldn’t favour me, but overall I’m pretty happy with the result.”
Narraway also admitted to being surprised by nature of the course, while reflecting on a memorable experience in front of a roaring crowd, including Rena Lalgie, the Governor of Bermuda.
“It was definitely a harder course than I expected,” he said. “We thought beforehand it was going to be tough and it definitely was.
“However, it was a pretty good ride and I’m really happy.
“It was crazy just having so many people cheering and shouting from the side of the road. You could not hear anything except the cheers the crowd; it was an amazing experience.”
The trio return to action when they join forces on Sunday to compete in the road race, comprising a 160km course in St Nicholas' Park, Warwick.
Conyers is also scheduled to appear in the women’s race, which will be competed over a 112km course, but the Bermuda Olympic Association refused comment on her status.
“We have no comment on this matter,” was the response from BOA media liaison Teela Dickinson when questioned on Conyers, whose status was revealed initially in a newsletter last night by the Bermuda Bicycle Association.