How did it all go so wrong? After the euphoria of Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France victory, expectations of GB's first Gold medal of the Olympic games fell firmly at Mark Cavendish's feet. He was a shoe-in for Gold wasn't he?
Only he never even came close. After 2 years of preparation, he saw his dreams vanish in front of his eyes as his GB team mates couldn't summon the strength to pull back a breakaway of 22 riders, including Fabian Cancellara and Luis Leon Sanchez. Was it a rare error in judgement on Team GB's part, letting such a strong group break free? Probably. Although they most likely underestimated the effects a Tour de France win had taken on their bodys and minds a week earlier. They simply weren't ready for this race, and on a 'normal' day may well have had the strength to pull the dissidents back.
What was abundantly clear was that the rest of the world were quite happy to let the GB team do all the work. Only some help from the German team desperate to get Andre Greipel back into the mix gave Wiggins, Froome, Stannard and Millar respite. But with so many teams having riders over a minute ahead, they could, and did, sit and watch the British riders pedal themselves into the ground. That Team GB didn't have anybody up front was ultimately their downfall.
Cavendish voiced his frustrations after the race, "It just seems like the other teams are happy to win as long as we don't win" he said "it shows what a strong nation we are. You've got to take the positives from that and take it as a complement, but it's bitterly dissapointing." Belgium's Tom Boonen, however, saw things differently "They lost the race a little bit because they were so strong. They were racing hard and acting like they didn't need help".
In the end it was a double breakaway off the front from Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) and Rigoberto Uran (COL) which surprised the back, who looked confused and disorganised as the duo broke free to battle it out for gold. It was Uran who handed gold to Vino as he slowed and looked over his left shoulder. Vinokourov seized the moment surging forward on Uran's right, and by the time the Colombian reacted, it was too late.
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