Spain 2 – Spain 0
With Spanish riders numbering half of the quartet that arrived in Florence ahead of the chasing pack at the end of the elite men’s road race, the smart money would have been on one of them ending the day in the rainbow jersey of world road race champion. It was not to be. When Portugal’s Rui Costa jumped clear of a trio containing Spain’s Alejandro Valverde to pursue Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez, a noted non-sprinter, Valverde merely watched.
‘Valve’ has claimed that he did not have the legs to follow Costa. Instead, he gambled on almost certain victory over an exhausted Vincenzo Nibali, and collected another bronze medal, his second in a row. Winning two of three medals would be an accomplishment only if Rodriguez and Valverde had been outnumbered, or if those medals had been gold and silver. Rodriguez’ disconsolate response to his own reward for seven hours of racing told its own story.