Cayman cyclist drops out of road race

| 04/08/2014

(CNS): The man who carried the flag for Cayman when the team opened its Commonwealth Games bid last month ended the competition for the country with a disappointment. Michele Smith pulled out of the Men’s Road Race Sunday, within the first three laps of the 12-lap event, which covered 172 kilometers through the streets of Glasgow. He said the conditions were not favorable for a good ride after the surprise summer weather turned a little more usual for Scotland and Smith had concerns about his start position. “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," Smith told the CIOC pool journalist.

"From when the race started, 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," he added.

Smith was not the only rider to pull out, as a result of choice, injury or mechanical failures. There were 140 riders that started Sunday’s race but only 12 ended up crossing the line with the others receiving Did Not Finish results.

Geraint Thomas of Wales won the gold medal in four hours, 13 minutes and five seconds while 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.

Before the road race Smith had place 36th out of 60 riders in the 40km time trial with a mark of 58:49:64, well off the pace set by gold medalist England's Alex Dowsett with 47:41.78.

Despite his decision not to complete the road race in the rain he was not overly disappointed by his Games.

“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," he added.

Meanwhile on the squash court mixed doubles competitors 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 were eliminated in the preliminary heats, placing fifth out of six teams with a time of 40.50 secs. There were no surprises when Jamaica went on to take the gold led by Usain Bolt in 37.58 seconds, ahead of England which took silver in 38.02 secs and Trinidad and Tobago with bronze in 38.10 secs.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    No Blame on Mitch. If you had been there you would have to think twice about the unkind blogs.

    The course laid down by the organizers was one of the toughest's courses used in the Commonwealth games.
    This was not a road race but a Criterion with some of the most difficult technical features that even the best could not cope with.
    The weather did not help, experiencing wind and torrential rain was more than most could encounter, especially when coming from a hot country as Cayman.
    The 1986 games in Edinburgh was equally as bad! Believe me I was at both Games. This course was designed so that spectators would enjoy the day but even they were disappointed they were unable to see the many riders from the Commonwealth, some from far bigger countries than Cayman.
    The actual road conditions did not help riders either, acute bends and slippery Pave (Cobbles) hence a little self preservation was needed and I'm sure Mitch felt that from the start to get anywhere close to competing was not possible and he made the decision rightly or wrongly to abort early and to think that if he had continued he would have come in 13th  Ridiculous

  2. Anonymous says:

    Funding should be available only to athletes likely to make it into the top 10 and young athletes who have talent that means one day they might make it into the top 10 in the future.  Limited resources should not be used on has beens and never-weres.  If others want to go to events and can fund themselves, then great.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As someone who stood on the side of the road in Glasgow during the race I can attest to the terrible conditions – torrential rain and sometimes high winds. The start was down a narrow confined road. The main teams all commanded the front spots so by the time the rest of the riders got past the actual start line the leaders were up to speed and well down the road. The roads were very slippery and dangerous. Ask those who fell. All of the riders who finished belonged to countries that had their own support car/team assisting them. I witnessed a Jamacian rider get a flat and he was unable to get any timely assistance so he had to give up whereas the winner actually had 2 flats in the closing laps and was able to get replacement tyres and still win. Had the race taken place the weekend before I am confident that the outcome for the riders of the smaller countries would have been better. None of them would still have likely finished in the top 20 but the DNF numbers would have been a lot lower.

    Thanks for your efforts Michele.

    • dr kananga says:

      Did. we pay for your flights too?

      • Anonymous says:

        No paid for them myself. Also got to see our squash and relay teams compete. Great way to have a vacation and offer support. You should try it sometime.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The rules of the road race were that whoever is 10 minutes behind the leader after each lap is required to withdraw… ie drop out…. Kennaugh from England (and Olympic Gold medalist) broke away early and caused many riders to be forced out. The option to just cruise around to the end, well, was not an option.

    • Diogenes says:

      That is helpful, since I suspect many readers, myself included, did not understand that.  But it does not address withdrawing. If they eliminate you fine – you tried your best.   Not everyone can win prizes, especially when competing against some of the worlds'd best.   If you give up….And if you just give up when you got paid to be there in the first place – sheesh.  Bet he doesnt mention that in future when he mentions he was in the 2014 Games, and sure as hell that won't be on the comments in the National Museum.   

    • Ex Expat says:

      Kennaugh is not English he is a Manx man in the GB team, but always from the Isle Of Man, just like Mark Cavendish.

  5. Walker says:

    14.56 I don't think the bloggers are not in support of Mitch as we do know he trains hard. However, what the bloggers are critiquing is that we the nation are under some financial pressure to make ends meet. Why are we sending people half way around the world  when we know quite well  they don't stand chance in hell to place in the top 10. I would suggest as a nation  we focus on diciplines such as swimming, sailing, squash and potentially some track. Focus on these and get the right athletes into the respective programs. The rest  of the  other diciplines we trash and focus on the ones we can potentially stand a chance. Then use the rest of the money saved and place into education.

    • Anonymous says:

      Potentially some track???? You do realize track is the only sport in this country that got us a commonwealth gold silver bronze… I have never heard anything of sailing or squash…

      Shame on him for quitting but until you are in his spot, you have no idea the situation of the race. But even more shame on you for disrespecting one of the only sport that’s putting Cayman islands on the map. Are you also aware of the fact that track have one of the best javelin thrower in the Caribbean and 400m runner who just broke Usain bolt 400 meter record. How about you get your facts straight next time. 

       

      Any if you trash the other sports, what are those kids going to do now in their free time. I hope they would rob you of everything you own. Sports is not only about competing and winning medals, its about teaching kids respect, discipline, and to work hard to achieve their goals. 

      Track and field paid for my college degree, nothing came from the government or my parents. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    The trolls are out, and judgement passed without proper understanding. Something is askew in how the reporting translates easily affirmed with only 12 finishing out of 140 starters. This doesn't equate that "Mitch gave up"  forgoing morals, pride and principle representing his country along with the other 128. I'll equally concede I don't know the reason for the outcome but I'm also certainly not willling to pass judgement with no proper knowledge of the event – perception is often the greatest deception and many not questioning wheher the drinking water came from the well.   

    • Diogenes says:

      Did he pull out as reported, or was he eliminated?  That seems to be the question.  Before you accuse people of trolling, the article seems quite clear that he pulled out i.e. it was a voluntary choice, rather than a forced withdrawal.  That, combined with the fact that this competitor was not competing on his own but as a respresentative of Cayman and sponsored by Cayman tax payers explains the tone of comments. If CNS has misreported it, criticise them, but as reported it seems entirely reasonable for bloggers to be exercised. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    "If you’re not in the right position from the start, I mean you stand no chance of getting to the front,"

     

    Tell that to Lewis Hamilton who started a recent Formual One race from the pit lane and still managed to fight his way up for a podium finish.

  8. West Bay Voter says:

    According to the CITN 6:00 pm news, he wasn't the only one to drop out of the race – not that that makes it a good thing. Some 100+ (I believe) that entered the race, and only 12 completed it. Evidently there were some extenuating circumstances. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s the Spirit!

    My God, what has happened to us? This is representing us, our finest on the world athletic stage? I hope this has been inaccurately reported. I feel sick.

  10. Corn Meal says:

    What a waste of public financing? He and others should reimburse the coffers. Funds would have been best used to fund a trade school. How many times we have heard this before from athletes. These are lean times and we sending delegates to compete in diciplines that we know we don't stand a chance. Why?

    When is this madness going to stop?

  11. Anonymous says:

    So if it's a technical course, why go in the first place? Did any other riders drop out for the same reason, ie everyone except the first three medal winners?

     

  12. Anonymous says:

    Did I pay for this?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Like all of you I would have loved Michele to have done better. However, I have cycled wih him on Sundays here in Cayman and the pace is brutal. Cycling is brutal. Gerraint Thomas, who won, came 22nd in the 2014 Tour De France, ahead of Ritchie Porte the erstewhile team leader of the massively funded pro team, Sky.In addtion to the training that is four Grand Tours and the other annual stage and one day classic races, Mich's competition train full time, with full sponsorship, whereas he runs his own firm and the competition trains on hills (mountains that most of you would need assistance to walk up).

    So, please keep this in context. Mich did well for him, in the time trial, partiaularly at his age. If there had been a better Caymanian cyclist then that person would have gone and taken Mich's place or cycled with him.

    ls save your criticism until after you have agonisingly tried to drag your sorry butts around the East End 40 mile loop.

    I wish I was as strong, physically and mentally on the bike, as Mich.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree with you. People just don't understand being a sports athlete and if thats the case, they should go and do it.

      • Diogenes says:

        Presumably he did understand what was involved before he agreed to go and represent his country, being a sports athlete and all?  The issue people have is not that he didnt win, or didnt finish, but that he withdrew – and why!  Its a massive honour to be there at all – to pull out because, as the article suggests, you dont think you will come high up in the rankings, will obviously attract criticism, irrespective of whether the man is the best cyclist in Cayman.  Personally I would rather have someone who tried his absolute best, even knowing he would come last, than have a publicly funded competitor bail out because he knew he wouldnt win or place high up the order.  Presumably he knew that before he even went!    

    • Diogenes says:

      Difference being the rest of us did not accept tax payer money, at which point we all have a say,  to finance a participation in a competition that we then VOLUNTARIALLY withdrew from. Fine, I couldnt even begin to think of qualifying.  But if I had, carrying my national flag, you would have to throw me out, not have me throw in the towel.   

  14. pmilburn says:

    Must say that I agree with the other bloggers on here.I well remember being the first to represent this country in an Olympics and to this day it was the most incredible experience I have ever had.It was not about winning(that would have been nice yes)but it was all about the honor of being there and giving your best.I hope that in the future other athletes will give their all as it is indeed the highlight of ones sporting years.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We all know the story The Tortosie and the Hare " Slow and Steady wins the race" Just saying, at least he try but he shouldn't had giving up too easily

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am critical of people receiving funding and not putting in any effort, but the fact that I know Mitch made me go and have a look at the results myself.

    Here are the results of the road race:

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/commonwealth-games/2014/results/sports/cycling/mens-road-race

     

    The fact is that only 12 people out of 100+ competitors actually finished the race. I believe that all of those who finished are full-time professionals, and at least 3 of the names I recognize as just having competed in the Tour de France.

    There are a lot of people from England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada who didn't finish either. In fact, the 12 riders who completed the course came from 6 countries, so the entire Commonwealth is made up of a bunch of drop-outs if you want to go by the results of this race alone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here is what I found in the results: Scotland, the host country, had 6 riders but only 1 finished. England 6 riders, 2 finished. Canada, a country of 35 million people had 5 riders and none finished. India, a country of more than one billion people, most of whom have no means of transportation other than bicycles, had 5 riders, none finished. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

  17. Anonymous says:

    If at first u don’t succeed – give up! Great example to set. With only 12 finishing he should have kept going.

  18. Anonymous says:

     “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,

    "What it had a hill?……..Fine showing, money well spent…. you should have at least finshed the race, for at least ranking.

    Remove funding to him and his coach. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    The mind is willing but the flesh is weak! this guy couldn't  compete and  place in the top finishers when he was in his 20,s now he is mid 40,s it's  all over , do it for exercise and call it a day.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Jack Bauer is amazing!!!  Running CTU Los Angeles AND having time to do cycling races as well?!  Chuck Norris better look out – Jacky Jack is comin for ya.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Really disappointing to read. The weather was yucky and I wasn't going to win so I dropped out 3 laps into the race. Next time, I hope his spot is given to someone with more drive and determination.

    • Anonymous says:

      And if he had actually stayed in the race and cruised round the course just to finish he would have palced 13th.

      Giving up, what a message to send to our youths.

  22. Anonymous says:

    He didn't think he could win, so he just gave up?  That's disgraceful.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like another instance of "can't be bothered, so won't even try".  He gave up before he even started.  Why go to these events if you're not even going to participate?

  24. Knot S Smart says:

    Also one of my employees called and said that he could not come to work this morning – cause it rained last Saturday…

  25. Just Sayin' says:

    A perfect way to end yet another successful Games.