Geraint Thomas gold in team pursuit: Congratulations for cyclist

From left: Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas
Image caption Geraint Thomas (far right) was the first Welsh athlete to win gold medals in back-to-back Olympics since 1972

Messages of congratulations have been flooding in for cyclist Geraint Thomas - the first Welsh athlete to win Olympic gold at London 2012.

Thomas, 26, and his three team-mates stormed to victory over Australia in the men's pursuit in the Velodrome in a world record time.

Social media was overwhelmed with messages from cycling fans, politicians and fellow sportsmen and women.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said Wales could not be more proud.

"Huge congratulations to Geraint Thomas on winning Wales' first gold at London 2012," he said.

"What a breathtaking and record breaking performance by Geraint and his teammates. Wales couldn't be prouder!"

Sport Minister Huw Lewis said: "Many, many congratulations to Geraint and his team mates on this wonderful performance.

"To win one Olympic gold medal is an incredible achievement, but for Geraint to win two in consecutive Games is the stuff of dreams and the product of many years of hard work and sacrifices."

On Twitter, there were hundreds of messages congratulating Thomas and the rest of the team:

  • The Welsh Rugby Union said: "Massive congratulations to @GeraintThomas86 first Welsh gold medal of London 2012!"
  • Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wrote: "Congratulations to the @TeamGB #Cycling team of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke on another amazing gold & WR"
  • The Wales Office tweeted: "A huge congratulations to @TeamGB men's team pursuit cyclists inc. Welshman @geraintthomas86"
  • Gold medal cyclist Sir Chris Hoy said the team were all "legends".

Thomas, who rode with the Maindy Flyers club in Cardiff until he was 16, is the first Welsh athlete to win gold at the London Games, while rower Chris Bartley won silver in the lightweight men's four at Eton Dorney on Thursday.

He is also the first Welsh athlete to win gold medals in back-to-back Olympics since equestrian rider Richard Meade in 1968 and 1972.

The GB team pursuit team of Thomas, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh also broke world records in the build up to Friday's final.

Thomas went to Whitchurch High School in north Cardiff, the same school as Wales and Tottenham Hotspur footballer Gareth Bale and Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton.

Maindy Flyers head coach Alan Davis said he was "ecstatic" at Thomas's win.

He was travelling on a train to London to watch the cycling at the velodrome on Saturday so did not see the race, but insisted on receiving texts every 1km with the team's split times.

Mr Davis said: "It was totally awesome. He's a fantastic inspiration for the youngsters. He comes down a couple of times a year and signs autographs and has been on rides with a couple of the older ones."

He said the club was producing many fine young cyclists and Thomas had helped to inspire that success.

"He's shown all the others what can be achieved. Success breeds success. Someone like Geraint is the perfect role model," he said.

"He's humble and takes his success and occasional setbacks equally well. What better example to give nine-year-old kids."

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