By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
GLASGOW, Scotland — The pouring rain in cold weather was one of the factors the Bahamian cycling team had to contend with on Sunday. The other was the torrid pace that the front riders put on the rest of the field.
Roy Colebrooke Jr, Deangelo Sturrup, Jay Major Jr, Anthony ‘Biggie’ Colebrooke and Chad Albury were all stopped in that order as they didn’t get to make the top pelaton and were not allowed to continue the gruelling 168.240 kilometres or 104.5-mile road race.
The event brought the curtain down for the Bahamas at the 20th Commonwealth Games as all five cyclists admitted that it was more challenging than they could have imagined.
Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas took the gold in four hours, 13 minutes and 05 seconds. The silver went to Jack Bauer of New Zealand in 4:14.26 and the bronze to England’s Scott Thwaites in 4:14.26.
“Riding with the big boys was a good experience, but at the end of the day we take what we got,” said Colebrooke Jr, who only did the first 70.1 km (43.5 miles) before he was waved off the course.
“The course was pretty rough. At the start, they just put the pedal to the metal and they dropped everybody who they felt couldn’t survive. So be it. The course was tough. We got a lot of surprises. We had about six or seven rising.”
Colebrooke Jr, 19, said if they want to compete with the best, they have to train with the best.
“You can’t do any more mediocre training if we want to compete with the world,” he said. “We have to do the training and compete with the world’s best in order to get better.”
Not long after Colebrooke Jr made his exit, the officials waved off Sturrup after they both failed to reach within the first 10 minutes of the leaders.
“It really wasn’t what I had expected,” said Sturrup, 21. “Those guys were riding extremely well, especially in the rain. We’ve never experienced that type of pace, so it was hard to keep up with them.”
Sturrup, however, said he’s confident that with some more work, they can be a force to reckon with in the future.
Major Jr, Anthony Colebrooke and Albury were riding through the 98.1 kl ( 60.1 miles) when they were pulled for not coming within the 10-minute mark as well of the leaders.
Major Jr, 18, was down with the flu and the inclement weather didn’t help him either.
“It was tough. It was tough from the start. All of the big teams went out like we figured they would,” Major said. “The cold weather, the rain and the course didn’t agree with us, so we were off on a bad foot from the start.
“We did manage to stay in for one lap, but after that, the team got split up. It was just hard to stay together. The course was hard and the weather wasn’t in our favour. It wasn’t what we expected it to be.”
Major Jr said the experience is one that he will not forget.
“Those pro tour riders are fast. TV don’t lie,” said Major Jr, adding that he now can respect them when he sees them competing. “But I learnt that we still have a long way to go, especially if we want to be competitive in cycling.
“We just have to keep pushing at it and training hard and hopefully one day the Bahamas will be up there. But today was not our day for sure.”
As the last two to survive, Anthony Colebrooke and Albury admitted that they gave it their best shot.
“The course felt very hard from the beginning because they really went out with a high level of intensity,” said Colebrooke. “We were attacking as strong as they could. But I didn’t expect them to drop us like they did. I really tried to do my best to get up there with them.”
Colebrooke said when he returns home, he realises that he will have to increase his level of training if he wants to be a contender when he returns to this level of competition.
And for Albury, he said the top cyclists opened a torrid pace and they just simply couldn’t overcome the huge deficit that they faced. “They had us scattered all over the course after the first lap,” Albury said. “We were in the third group and we tried to get into the second group. It was a team of us from the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica who tried to reel them in, but they pulled us off the course.
“I expected them to go out as hard as they did because they definitely don’t want to get any wrecks, especially with the wet road and the rain. So I expected them to go out from the start to separate the field.”
Albury, the 42-year-old native from Abaco who came home from Australia where he works to compete with the team, said the Bahamas has the potential, just as they do in the other sports to compete at this level.
“We just need to increase our intensity level in training,” he said. “We have Rio in a couple years for the Olympic Games, but we have the Caribbean Championships in a couple of months, so this will really help us as we move forward.”
As the chef de mission, Roy Colebrooke said the team performed as expected.
“I believe what is of the utmost importance to all of them is that they got an experience and they now know exactly how their training should go,” said Colebrooke, who also serves as the president of the Bahamas Cycling Federation.
“We already have a high level training camp in Mexico in addition to a coach and so we will move from there. All of this is part of a mission for us to make the 2016 Rio Games. So I think this event was very important for us.”
Head coach Barron ‘Turbo’ Musgrove said the team rode as expected.
“Bear in mind, all of the elements that everybody had to face, was harder for us than the actual race,” Musgrove said. “As you can see, physically we are in shape, but the course definitely is a difficult course for our guys, not being so disciplined for these events. For us, we are relatively pleased. We know that there is a lot of work to be done, but we will be building from this.”
Musgrove, the president of the New Providence Cycling Association, said they are looking for the team to improve as they compete in the Caribbean Island Championships and the CAC Games in November in Mexico.