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Photo ©: Bettini

2006 Commonwealth Games - JR

Melbourne, Australia, March 16-26, 2006

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March 26: Men’s road race

Complete live report

13:08 EST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' updates from the men's road race at the Commonwealth Games. This is the final event of the cycling programme on the final day of competition. It's a chance for the host nation to seal its domination of Commonwealth Games cycling or for countries such as England, New Zealand and South Africa to try and salvage a little national sporting pride after two weeks of listening to 'Advance Australia Fair' at most of the medal ceremonies.

It's turned into a warm afternoon in Melbourne, with the temperature about 26 Celsius and a light breeze blowing. It's forecast to get hotter, but we won't be seeing the searing temperatures that riders suffered at the Tour Down Under earlier this year.

13:34 EST   
Duncan Urquhart (Scotland) rider has escaped and is being chased by a four-man group of Robin Sharman (England), Dominique Perras (Canada), Jeremy Paul Maartens (Republic of South Africa), and David Kinjah (Kenya). The Australians are on the front of the peloton chasing, but it's very early and they're not panicking by any means.

13:44 EST   
The four-rider chase has caught Urquhart, so there is now a five-rider group off the front.

Andrew William James Cook (Isle Of Man) is out of the race after a first-lap mechanical.

13:47 EST   
The pace has been high from the start, and that has already depleted the main field, which now only comprises about 2/3 of the starters. On this twisty circuit, that will be a deliberate tactic of the stronger countries: get rid of the less experienced riders so they don't constitute a hazrd in the many corners.

13:48 EST   
The temperature is officially a balmy 27.5 Celsius, but it feels hotter when you're out in the sunshine and especially when that sunshine is bouncing off the tarmac at you.

Duncan Urquhart (Scotland)
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
(Click for larger image)

14:08 EST   
The break now has a gap of 1:30. It's a nice moment in the sun for these five (no jokes about Scotland's Duncan Urquhart not being used to that though), but very unlikely to develop into the winning move the way the early break did in the women's race this morning.

14:27 EST    56km/110km to go
The five rider break is still away, and there have been a couple of minor bingles in the peloton. Australian Aaron Kemps was involved in one of them and then had a slow wheel change that put him a bit behind the peloton, but he has now rejoined the main field.

14:33 EST   
Rupert Reeder (South Africa) was involved in the other one of those crashes and is out with a suspected broken collarbone after somersaulting over a barrier. He's otherwise okay but looking very sore and uncomfortable.

The Australian team
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
(Click for larger image)

14:53 EST   
The Australian team is gradualy reeling in the break; the gap is now 1:15. The strategy seems to be to not catch the five riders who are away too early so that the team doesn't then have to police every single attack afterwards.

Of the breakaway riders David Kinjah (Kenya) has struggled a bit after dropping a feed bag. He's a tough rider though, who finished a respectable 14th in last year's Cape Epic mountain bike stage race.

15:07 EST   
Ben Day and Aaron Kemps have been the hadest-working riders in the main field so far, powering the chase.

15:13 EST   
Isle of Man rider Andrew Cooke - who we reported had abandoned after an early mechanical - is actually back on the bike but about 10 minutes down on teh peloton.

Australia's Peter Dawson has sacrificed himself, dropping off the back after being another of the riders powering the chase.

The gap is now down to about 40 seconds.

15:18 EST    90km/76km to go
58 riders remain in the main peloton as the New Zealand team brings Peter Latham back up to the field. The gap has gone back up to 1:20.

Allan Davis is clearly the protected rider of the Australan team. A very quick sprinter, he would be Australia's best chance if the finale is a bunch sprint, though young Will Walker's speed cannot be dismissed in that situation too.

South African sprinter Robert Hunter is sticking to Davis like glue - he knows his best chance would be to use Australia's main man.

15:43 EST   
David George of South Africa has bridged across the the break, joining his team-mate Jeremy Paul Maartens and bringing the break to six.

The Australian team still leads the chase, but the combination of two South Africans increases the threat the break poses and they may well decide to shut it down soon.

15:51 EST   
Maartens has dropped back to the bunch so that potentially dangerous South African pairing isn't happening. Australia is still in charge of the chase; Ben Day is looking tired from his efforts of the last couple of hours.

The margin is yo-yoing. It's now out to a minute again.

16:04 EST    122km/44km to go
The breakaway has been caught as they go on to lap 12. The pace is breakneck now as Australia takes the front and sets a speed that will block any further attacks, stringing out the bunch in the process.

16:08 EST   
Two Australian riders have dropped off the back, their work done for the day. It looks like Ben Day and Aaron Kemps. That just leaves Allan Davis and Will Walker to go for the finale.

16:14 EST   
A large break has got away. Give us a minute to identify them.

16:15 EST   
All three remaining Australians, Mat Hayman, Will Walker and Allan Davis, are in the break.

16:22 EST   
More on that break. There's about 10 riders out front with another 9 chasing. The front group comprises Will Walker, Allan Davis, and Mat Hayman of Australia; Robert Hunter, Ryan Cox, and David George (South Africa), Steve Cummings (England), Mark Cavendish (Isle of Man), Roger Aiken (Northern Ireland), and Geoff Kabush (Canada),

16:23 EST   
Canadian fast finisher Gord Fraser is also in the front group, along with New Zealand's Greg Henderson, plus a couple of others.

16:26 EST    141km/25km to go
This is a lively break. Everyone knows that this is the selective split and for some riders there's no point biding their time till the sprint. The attacks are coming thick and fast. Mark Cavendish attacks but it reeled in quickly

16:27 EST    144km/22km to go
Christopher Froome (Kenya) tries his luck.

16:28 EST   
Ryan Cox (Republic of South Africa) goes after Froome, trying to bridge the gap.

16:31 EST   
Froome and Cox are caught by a counter-attack from Will Walker (Australia). Allan Davis takes the front.

Walker is caught. Davis attacks. Hunter goes after him.

16:34 EST   
Greg Henderson (New Zealand) has chased down Davis' attack. The constant jockeying has depleted the front group. Ten riders remain, including the three Australians, three South Africans, Cummings, Cavendish and Henderson

16:38 EST   
Ryan Cox (Republic of South Africa), David Harold George (Republic of South Africa), and Mathew Hayman (Australia) have broken away from the leaders after the South Africans attacked.

16:39 EST   
Cox, George and Hayman have a gap of about 25 seconds.

16:43 EST    150km/16km to go
Mat hayman is sitting on theSouth Africans. There's no point him contibuting to this break to just get worked over in the finale. The chasing group is being led by the New Zealanders.

16:51 EST    155km/11km to go
The gap is out to about 42 seconds. With a lap to go, the three riders out front could still be caught by a well-organised chase, but it's not going to come from the Australian or South African teams.

New Zealand and England riders are contributing to the pursuit. It's going to be close.

16:55 EST   
Mark Cavendish (Isle of Man) takes up the chase as Logan Hutchings (New Zealand) drops off the front and the New Zealanders don't seem to know what to do next having failed to reel in the break so far.

Mat Hayman is sitting third wheel in the break, obviously waiting for his chance. Will he go on the final climb?

16:58 EST   
New Zealand gets its act back together and resumes the chase. The gap is 39 seconds. The chasers are running out of time, with just a few kilometres to go now.

16:59 EST   
Mat Hayman attacks!

17:00 EST   
Hayman breaks away solo, leaving George and Cox with no response. They have worn themselves out establishing the break. Within a few hundred metres Hayman already has a huge gap.

17:02 EST    164.2km/1.8km to go
Hayman is on fire, down in that Dutch driver position and going hard. Back in the chase group Davis has attacked.

17:04 EST   
The two South Africans are struggling now. Hayman has 25 seconds on David George and Ryan Cox has dropped right back. Steve Cummings has attacked from the bunch too and is chasing Davis.

17:04 EST   
Hayman is coming into the crowded fnish straight, driving it all the way to the line as thecrowd goes mad. George follows him in.

17:04 EST   

17:05 EST   
Hayman crosses the line with his hands in the air, followed by George. Allan Davis takes third, and Steve Cummings fourth

17:06 EST   
Davis congratulates Hayman as the celebrations continue in the Australian camp.

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