What can I say? If you love sport then sometimes you have to deal with disappointment. Maybe the expectations were already set too high. Was it ever really possible to dominate the Olympic road race with a team of five men, in the same way that Great Britain dominated last year’s World Championship with nine men?
Yet the tactic almost came off. Clearly it was the right one. The only problem was that the rest of the world didn’t share the plan. Nations that could have ridden to win, seemed instead to ride to make sure Great Britain lost. I’m not going to name names, but they (and you) know who they are, and the problem for them is that yes, they may have stopped Cav winning, but they too went home empty-handed.
Meanwhile, our team rode with honour, dignity and total commitment. They can all be proud of themselves, and we can be proud of them. Thank you, guys. Think for a minute how far we have come in recent years – how amazing is it that the rest of the world based their entire tactics around what the GB team was doing!?
Leaving the result aside, the event itself was a triumph for the London Olympics and for our sport. Over a million people are estimated to have seen the race live on the ground, let alone the millions around the world watching on television. The word “iconic” doesn’t even begin to do justice to the start and finish locations, and the route was certainly a lot more challenging than many predicted.
Everyone involved (apart from the person who brought a dog to the race and let it cross the road, disaster being narrowly averted) behaved well, demonstrated their huge enthusiasm, had a great time, and got a great impression of our wonderful sport. My day was spent dashing from one media interview to another – it seems everyone wants to hear our story these days!
Later, British Cycling seized the opportunity to win friends and influence people with an evening reception, organised jointly with the UCI, attended by key sponsors, funders, friends, event organisers, Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, and representatives of our fellow national cycling federations from around the world. The atmosphere was incredible – everyone is delighted by the way London is putting on the Games, and full of praise for the progress British Cycling has made in transforming the status and success of our sport.