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…