London 2012 Olympics - Road Race

Well, a lot has been said about the Olympic road race yesterday, things did not go to plan, unfortunately for Team GB, there was no Plan B... Ultimately a 38 year old former drug cheat won the gold medal, and Mark Cavendish trailed home in 28th place.

Team GB seemed to concentrate on the science (aero bikes, helmets, skinsuits etc), but the team was limited in being able to improvise on the day. Ultimately, the limiting factor was Mark Cavendish's speed on the 9 ascents of Box Hill, this meant that Team GB was unable to chase any attacks. A breakaway of 30 riders (i.e. a peloton in its own right), was too powerful for Team GB to reel in on the way back to London, and, additionally, Team GB's cause was hindered by the reticence of other teams to help set the pace at the front.

Mark Cavendish seemed dejected when interviewed by the BBC afterwards, and the failure to "medal" was the headline on the BBC evening news. Perhaps, there was too much hype and expectation, after all, a 251K road race is inevitably difficult to control, but the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Tour de France (Team Sky) seemed to suggest that Team GB could deliver Mark for a sprint finish on The Mall.

Mark praised his teammates after the event, but I wonder whether Cav is going to fall into the category of great athletes not to win an Olympic medal. He will be 31 by the time of the Rio olympics, and much will depend on the route, conditions and, just as importantly, his form.

It is not a case of comparing like with like, the 100M will be the same all around the world, barring altitude and weather conditions on the day, whereas a single day road race will have so many other variables in the mix, i.e. it can be a bit of a lottery - unfortunately Team GB did not have a winning ticket.

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