Sportsthoughts (34) – The Olympic Road Race

So it didn’t work out for Team GB, and, specifically, Mark Cavendish, who was favourite for gold. What went wrong? Well, the peleton, led by GB, let the breakaway group go too far too fast, until it was uncatchable.  Lots of reasons posited: other countries in the peleton not doing their fair share of work; the emotions/effort of the Tour de France finally catching up; less radio contact with HQ; and… complacency?  Did GB, based on the Team Sky experience at the Tour, assume they could always catch the breakaway? Even when some very serious riders broke away?

Maybe all of the above.  We will no doubt hear all the theories over the next few days. But now it’s best of luck to Bradley Wiggins at the time trial on Wednesday.  His chances will be enhanced if Fabian Cancellara is forced out by his awful crash today. He was looking good to win today until he seemed to lose concentration at a bend just out of Richmond on the way back and just piled into the barrier. He bravely continued to ride until the end, but looked like he had seriously damaged a shoulder. Hope he makes it – one of the great riders today.

I and friend Jon, with his son Louis and friend Chris, cycled down to Richmond Bridge early this morning to catch the road race as it headed over the bridge.  We got there about 8.30 and secured a good viewing spot on a corner, so we might get a good view of the cyclists, as they’d have to slow down a little. Good theory. But they still went by so fast it was all over in a flash! It was exciting, partly because of the building of anticipation in the crowd.  The bikes weren’t due to come by until about 10.20, so we had nearly two hours feeling that build-up.  We had a couple of teas and coffees, cheered every vehicle that came by, enjoyed the police outriders getting their fifteen seconds of fame just before the main players rushed by.  It was a whirl of colour and frantic snapping.  I just pressed the shutter button on the camera as quickly as I could. Got a few decent shots in the process. Here are a few.


The leader and poursuivants.

I think this is Bradley Wiggins!


Afterwards we cycled back to the London Apprentice pub on the Thames at Isleworth and had a couple of pints while watching the race on TV.  Then back to mine to catch the last hour and a half. The riders were on their bikes for five and a three-quarter hours, travelling 250km, with eight circuits of Box Hill in Surrey, just to make sure they were suitably stretched! Another huge feat of endurance, just after the Tour. Congratulations to Vinokurov of Kazakhstan for winning, with Uran of Colombia getting silver.  They broke the breakaway. An incredible feat. Great shame Cav, Sagan, Greipel, Goss, weren’t there to battle it out at the finish, but it just didn’t happen for any of the classic sprinters today.

That’s how it goes. The pre-ordained scripts are rarely followed…

About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. I’ve written a novel called “The Decision”, a futuristic political thriller, and first of a trilogy. I’m also the author of a book on music since the 1970s called “ I Was There - A Musical Journey” and a volume of poetry about youth, “Growin’ Up - Snapshots/ Fragments”. All available on Amazon and Kindle.
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5 Responses to Sportsthoughts (34) – The Olympic Road Race

  1. How exciting! We keep trying to get the Olympics to come to Toronto, but no luck. Great pics!

  2. John S says:

    It’s a big commitment for any city and costs a fortune. (I think Montreal took a big financial hit for years after ’76). I think it’s worth it, but plenty of grumblers in the UK who don’t. Great to get a snap of our hero, Bradley Wiggins at Richmond. Completely fortuitous!

  3. Osama Rahman says:

    Is it worth it? I’m not so sure. When we were bidding, I wanted Paris to get the Olympics – close enough to possibly get to watch an event or two, but we wouldn’t take the financial hit. And the initial £2.3 billion budget was always ridiculously low, and I suspect was picked to make it seem a good deal. And I wouldn’t sign off the estimates as to the level of future financial benefits some people are claiming the Olympics will bring in. I’m also always wary of when people include ‘intangible’ benefits as part of the argument as to why something is “worth it”. By and large, Olympics tend to be regressive in terms of redistribution.

    However saying all that, I want London 2012 to be an absolute utter success, and from the brilliant Opening Ceremony on, so far it has been. And yes, perhaps I am being a bit hypocritical by grumbling and also having bought tickets!

  4. DyingNote says:

    I think Team GB screwed up strategically. And once again, Dear John, breakaways can work superbly 🙂 Good for Vino! I’m just hoping Wiggs or Froome can pull it off in the TT. The distaff did manage to do what the men could not do in the road race

    • John S says:

      Superb performance from Lizzie Armitstead to get silver in the women’s road race. The men’s success in the Tour de France has rather diverted attention from the GB women’s team. Now is the time for them to show how good they are!

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