Mark Cavendish has praised his Great Britain teammates for their support during today’s failed attempt to win the Olympic road race.
The Manxman finished 29th, some 40 seconds down on the winner, Alexander Vinokourov, and 32 seconds behind a breakaway group of 23 riders led home by bronze medalist, Alexander Kristoff of Norway.
Cavendish said his teammates were “spent” after an entire race at the front of the peloton.
“We rode the exact race we wanted to ride. We wanted to control it and we wanted the group at a minute.
“We expected teams to come and chase at the end with us. We controlled it with four guys for 250 km and we couldn’t do more. We are human beings,” he told the BBC’s Jill Douglas.
“There was a group of 22 who got away and we couldn’t pull them back. The four guys who ran all day couldn’t do it. The Germans came a bit too late and the other teams seemed to be more content that they wouldn’t win as long as we didn’t win. That’s kind of how it goes.
“I can be proud of how the lads rode today. I’m proud of my country as there was incredible support. The guys are sat there, they are spent.”
Bradley Wiggins delivered turn after turn on the front, with Ian Stannard taking the lion’s share of the pace making on the run back into London.
The expected support from Germany, riding in the hope of a sprint finish for team leader, Andre Greipel, did not materialise, with the exception of efforts from world time trial champion, Tony Martin, on the Box Hill circuit.
Australia, expected to ride for sprinter Matt Goss, also failed to share the workload after Stuart O’Grady escaped with an early breakaway.
Cavendish expressed his disappointment at the failure of other teams to contest the race.
“It seems that most teams are happy not to win if we don’t win, that’s the story of our lives in cycling it shows what a strong nation we are and we have to take that as a compliment but it’s bitterly disappointing,” he told Douglas.
“There’s 70 guys in our group at the finish, I don’t understand why there’s only three guys riding it doesn’t make sense.”