Mark Cavendish paid tribute to his ‘incredible’ teammates after missing out on a gold medal despite a brave effort in the Olympic men’s road race.
The Manx Missile’s four colleagues in the Team GB road cycling team – Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard and David Millar – put in an extraordinary effort on the front off the peloton in the 250km race but were unable to reign in the breakaway in London with little help from others in the main group.
Alexandr Vinokourov of Kazakhstan was eventually crowned Olympic road race champion, beating Rigoberto Uran in a two man sprint after the pair attacked off the breakaway. For the world road champion it was an understandably disappointing day but he could not fault Team GB’s plan and execution as they attempted to set up the sprint finish.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Cavendish said: "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.
"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."
"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. They have got nothing left in the tank. It's incredible to see that. To see what they gave for the cause.
“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. 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.”
The course was filled to the brim with fans showing their support for Cavendish in the form of flags and masks along the entire route, something which the 27-year-old 2011 Tour de France green jersey winner appreciated.
“We don’t pick up on individuals we just kind of hear a noise but that was tremendous the whole way round it was something I’ll remember forever.
"We may not have won a medal but I'm completely proud of my team and completely proud of my country."
Sunday sees the women’s Olympic road race with live text commentary available on the British Cycling website.