Cycling hero Geraint Thomas to carry Welsh flag at closing ceremony

FLAG BEARER: Geraint Thomas today added road race gold to the time trial bronze he won on Thursday

FLAG BEARER: Geraint Thomas today added road race gold to the time trial bronze he won on Thursday

First published in Sport

GOLD medal-winning cyclist Geraint Thomas has been announced as the Team Wales flag bearer for tonight’s Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

Glasgow 2014 is Thomas' second Commonwealth Games. In Melbourne in 2006 Geraint took bronze in the points race, and in Glasgow he won bronze in the Time Trial, and finished things off perfectly for Wales with a gold medal in the road race earlier this afternoon.

Thomas also won Olympic gold in the team pursuit for Great Britain in Beijing 2008 and repeated that success in London 2012.

Following London 2012, the Cardiff star turned all his efforts to the road, and was part of the Team Sky squad that took Chris Froome to victory in the Tour de France in 2013.

This year he was the only British rider to complete the Tour, with his best ever finish in 22nd. Thomas was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Years Honours list for his achievements in sport.

"It will be an honour to carry the flag at the close of the Commonwealth Games,” said Thomasn.

“I am a proud Welshman, I don't get to wear the Welsh jersey that often so to carry the flag tonight as well will be a proud moment for me and my family."

Team Wales Chef de Mission, Brian Davies said: “Geraint is an influential figure in the sporting world and his many achievements make him the perfect choice to lead Team Wales out for the last time in Glasgow.

“Geraint, along with his team, has put Welsh cycling on the map. He continues to be a superb role model for aspiring athletes and There is no doubt that these Games have been a success, and this is down to athletes like Geraint for their passion, determination and drive."

The closing ceremony will take place at Hampden Park and will be broadcast live on BBC One from 8pm.

After 11 days of competition and months, if not years, of hard work and preparation Team Wales athletes have made the history books at Glasgow 2014 by becoming the most successful team to ever compete for Wales in terms of total medals, although the country won 10 golds in Auckland in 1990.

With a medal haul of 36, including five gold, 11 silver and 20 bronze the man at the helm of the team has hailed praise on the athletes, coaches and support staff that played their part in Team Wales’ success.

Davies added: “Glasgow 2014 has been an outstanding Games for Wales. Surpassing the highest medal tally of 31 collected in the Manchester 2002 Games seemed a long way off when the events began on July 24 but our athletes have performed outstandingly well and each one to the very best of their ability to bring 36 medals back to Wales.”

And the medal tally is not the only thing that will go down in history for Wales from these Games.

Rhythmic gymnast Frankie Jones started the momentum with five silver medal wins and a gold to top off an outstanding career in the sport and to become Wales’ most decorated gymnast and athlete from a single Games.

Wales’ first gold medal in judo was won by Natalie Powell on day three and Craig Pilling’s wrestling bronze medal became the first for the sport at the Commonwealth Games.

Boxing equalled their highest medal tally with five from St Joseph’s stars Sean McGoldrick and Joe Cordina, Bargoed’s Lauren Price, plus Ashley Williams and Nathan Thorley all winning bronze.

Price also became the first Welsh woman to win a Commonwealth Games boxing medal.

Helen Phillips, Chair of Commonwealth Games Wales – the organisation responsible for Team Wales in Glasgow – said: “It is of course the athletes that put in those medal-winning performances but they have had a world-class team of coaches and support staff behind them, both in the build up to the Games and whilst we’ve been in Glasgow.

“We’ve all been working to create an outstanding performance environment conducive to success.

“Aside from the medals won we have witnessed athletes achieve some of their personal best performances and we’ve seen a new crop of performers stepping up on the international stage, which of course bodes well for the Gold Coast 2018 Games less than four years away.

“We are immensely proud of the team and grateful to all the supporters who travelled to Glasgow to share the many magical moments.

Davies added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to express how proud I am of every single member of Team Wales and to thank everyone for their dedication to the team and to their country.

“I would also like to mention how much we’ve all valued the Welsh support both here and back at home, whilst the crowds in all the venues have also been incredible.”

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