Silver medallist Anton Cooper of New Zealand, gold medallist Samuel Gaze of New Zealand and bronze medallist Alan Hatherly of South Africa.

THE ongoing rivalry between a pair of Kiwi cyclists, Samuel Gaze and Anton Cooper, has reached a new level at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Gaze edged his compatriot to win mountain bike gold at the Games, but it didn’t come without a controversy that’s divided spectators.

The latest incident began heading into the final lap of the even, with Gaze suffering a punctured tyre. The etiquette in road racing usually sees the peloton slow down and wait for the leader if he or she has suffered a puncture, but Cooper did no such thing when Gaze went down.

That prompted Gaze to extend his middle finger at Cooper, making the next set of sequences even more exhilarating.

Gaze ended up catching his fellow Kiwi on the final lap, ultimately surpassing him and avoiding some close, physical riding. Gaze won gold, then took a shot at Cooper, both as he crossed the finish line and in his comments after the race.

Gaze sends a message as he crosses the finish line.Source: Getty Images

“There is good sportsmanship and there’s not, and I feel like that wasn’t there today. It’s a bit of a shame really, I’ve got the utmost respect for the guy, still, even with that move,” Gaze said.

“That’s racing. You can’t get along with everyone.”

Asked whether his win was gratifying considering the circumstances leading up to it, Gaze offered: “the good guys always win.”

Gaze was quickly criticised for the way he responded to the situation.

In response to the criticism, Gaze released a statement:

It didn’t take long for the controversial circumstances to blow over, with both cyclists reacted as expected after a hard-fought race.

“I can’t believe I won gold,” Gaze said.

“The feeling is just unimaginable. There was lots of bad luck going around with people having stacks (crashes) and punctures, so I’m really happy with today’s result.”

Cooper was stunned that Gaze was able to get back in the race after suffering a punctured tyre.


“It’s going to be one of the best events at the Games,” Cooper said of the rivalry between the pair.

“I didn’t quite come out on the right end of it but that’s life. I don’t know what happened (with Gaze’s puncture), we came into the tech zone, saw he pulled over, tyre didn’t look flat, didn’t know what was happening. He was very, very strong at the end. I don’t know what he did in the tech zone.

“You are never safe until it is done. I tried to back off a little to save energy for the sprint. I didn’t close the door enough.

“This makes me more hungry (to beat Gaze).”


By Malvi