Bike racing is the talk of the nation. Monday morning saw Lizzie Armitstead splashed across the front pages of the national press with the inner pages revelling in the spectacle of the Olympic road races.
It’s fantastic that the first British medal of the Games should be won by a cyclist and Lizzie’s gutsy silver medal ride banished the disappointment of the men’s result.
We had such high hopes of a Cavendish victory but our men were simply outnumbered and with the rest of the world ganging up against GB, it proved ultimately to be a pretty negative affair. There was no chance of a repeat performance on Sunday, the most exciting women’s race I’ve ever seen thanks to Emma Pooley and Armitstead constantly shaking things up around the Box Hill circuit. Emma was simply unstoppable, attacking uphill and down, it didn’t matter, this was inspired riding which set things up perfectly for Armitstead.
Whereas 24 hours earlier we were praying for the break to be caught on the run-in back to London, here we were on Sunday willing Armitstead, Vos and Zabelinskaya to stay away. That rain soaked sprint down The Mall will endure as one of the iconic images of these Games as will those enormous crowds.
Estimates began at one million spectators and everyone, including a certain Eddy Merckx, agreed that they had never seen so many faces at the roadside. What an epic weekend – yet another milestone for British cycling.
Robert Garbutt, Editor