Saturday, 28 July 2012

Disappointment for Team GB in Olympic Road Race

Mark Cavendish Olympic Gold Medal Hopes Dashed

If there is one Gold medal you would have put your house on Team GB winning at the Olympics, it would have been the Olympic Road race.   Fresh from the Tour de France which showed a shop window of quality in Brad Wiggins, Chris Froome, David Millar and Ian Stannard, the media had it as a foregone conclusion, along with millions of cyclists.

There are three key things that made today's race different from what we might normally witness on one of the grand tours: -

  1. No race radios, so no real time strategy from the Directeur Sportive.
  2. A team of only five riders, meaning there is less depth in terms of people to work the front.
  3. Less people to work with on competing teams.

It was obvious from the start that GB would have to sit on the front for the bulk of the very long race today, everyone knew it and everyone sat back to let them do the work.  As it entered it's final quarter, a breakaway group was off the front and the GB riders ran out of energy having been on the front of the peloton for much of the day, meaning no leadout train for Cav and goodbye to Olympic glory for him.

You could see how disappointed everyone was.  Cav - as we know - wears his heart on his sleeve and I'm sure a few tears will be shed in private.  Bradley Wiggins had a big debt to re-pay for all Cav's work on the Tour de France to get him in Jersey, he'll be gutted too but also now has to recover for the Time Trial.

When you get used to winning, it can never be taken for granted.  Today's race was practically already won if you are to believe the media, however sport has a way of reminding us that it's what happens on the day that really counts.

Mark Cavendish is still World Race Champion and Bradley Wiggins our first ever winner of the Tour de France.  We've a lot to be proud of in these formidable riders, our team and the effort they put in to make it happen.  Sometimes even the best preparation and plans aren't enough and the race just plays out differently. 

Bradley Wiggins has still to compete in the Time Trial event, however it's game over for Cav and his dream of the gold medal in his year as World Champion, shame I would have loved to have see him get it.  Now over to the ladies who will race tomorrow and into the Velodrome for the track, which will be heaped with equal expectation.

Tweets from the riders said shortly after the finish said: -

Mark Cavendish - "Gutted.  After 250km, less than a minute to 20 guys.  My guys were INCREDIBLE & there was nothing more we could do.  Victims of our own success."

David Millar - "We did what we'd planned.  Cav had the legs to go with the attacks on the last climb but trusted our ability to bring it home.  Gutted.  On the bright side it was the most amazing feeling in the world carrying the weight of a nation.  Feel terrible we didn't deliver.

Bradley Wiggins - "Well we did everything we could as a team, gutted for Cav and sad to see Fabian out"

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