Aaron Gate’s team-mates had no idea he had ridden his way to a record-breaking fourth gold medal until more than eight minutes after he had crossed the finish line.
The 31-year-old cyclist created history as the first New Zealand athlete to win four gold medals at the same Commonwealth Games when he sprinted to victory in the men’s road race.
Gate was part of a 15-man breakaway that included former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, but with no race radios allowed to be used during the road race, the riders in the peloton had no idea how the race had played out in front of them.
Jack Bauer, who was part of a small chase group that had unsuccessfully tried to make it across to the leaders, was the next New Zealand rider across the line, 8 minutes and 17 seconds behind Gate.
Patrick Bevin, Shane Archbold, Campbell Stewart and Dion Smith followed in the main bunch a further 22 seconds later.
Gate did not have time to hang around and wait for his team-mates as he had to go and get ready for the medal ceremony.
He said he was getting changed into his tracksuit when Bevin ran in to congratulate Gate on the biggest win of his career.
“Jack even said to me after the race that he spent the last few laps in that move at the front of the peloton thinking of the excuses that he was going to come up with about what they did wrong and how the day hadn’t worked. out,” Gate said.
“I had been rushed away to a room to get changed before the podium presentation and Paddy came rushing in and gave me a hug and just about tackled me to the group so it was cool to have the other guys so elated as well.”
Without access to race radios that are commonplace in most professional bike races, Gate said he was unaware how far behind him the peloton was or that a small group of six riders containing Bauer was trying to bridge the gap.
“We had no race radios or anything, which made it more of an honest race I suppose because you didn’t really know what was going on and the information was really limited,” he said.
“It was only lap five [of 10] that I saw a board that made me realize what the gap to the peloton was and that there was a group in between.
“I had to ask around the other riders that had been back to their cars and found out that Jack was at 55 seconds behind us.
“I was trying to slow the pace down every time I hit the front to try and get Jack across but it turned out that it was their last ditch attempt earlier and they were trying to catch us but had lost their momentum.
Chasing 15 [riders] is a hard ask.”
Gate has returned home to Girona in Spain following a whirlwind fortnight which saw him win gold medals in the road race, team pursuit, individual pursuit and road race.
He said he was still coming to terms with the magnitude of his achievements.
“I was trying to take a moment to reflect when I was out training today but it still hasn’t really sunk in,” he said.
“Still thinking back, how that road race panned out, I finished the race and thought there wasn’t anything I could have done better and the result reflected that.
“It was nice to be 100% tactically and physically on a race day that counts.”