Sam Gaze fails to finish mountain biking event after flat tyre

Author
Radio Sport staff,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Aug 2016, 1:28PM
Sam Gaze competing in Rio (Getty Images).
Sam Gaze competing in Rio (Getty Images).

Sam Gaze fails to finish mountain biking event after flat tyre

Author
Radio Sport staff,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Aug 2016, 1:28PM

The New Zealand Olympic team’s Rio campaign has come to an unfortunate end.

The final Kiwi in action, mountain-biker Sam Gaze, has failed to finish the men’s cross-country event after being pulled by officials with a lap to go.

Gaze said his race unravelled when he suffered a flat tyre on the opening lap.

"My headset came loose. I had to change my wheel out again. I tighten the headset and then I got going but once you're gone, you're gone in something like this."

Gaze said he expects to stew on the result for a while.

"I've never had to deal with something like this. I've never had the grief that I have right now. It will take a while to get over, but I'm sure I'll come back stronger, and next Olympic Games I'll be ready to right my wrongs."

He said it hurts because he believes he was capable of a top six finish or even a medal.

"I worked as hard as I ever have in my life to train for this event. I don't know what really happened out there but I'm hoping that I never experience that again.

"My dad was watching. I had to finish off strong. I couldn't let anyone down. I'm here to do myself proud and my family. Even though the result wasn't there, I did myself proud."

Road cycling world champion Peter Sagan was also pulled from the race with a lap remaining after suffering similar misfortune.

Gaze said Sagan has been part of his team in the lead-up to the Olympics.

"I've got to know him reasonably well over the last week or so. He's a great guy. A humble athlete and that's what makes him a champion."

Switzerland’s Nino Schurter has won gold, with Gaze’s team-mate Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic claiming silver.

New Zealand’s Olympics ends with 18 medals, five more than London, while there have been a further 22 top eight finishes and 70 top 16 results.