British champion Lizzie Armitstead finished 34th in her early-season target, the Tour of Flanders, on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m disappointed. I think my inexperience showed. I’ve only done Flanders once before and I got too excited, too early,” she said at the finish.
Armitstead was referring to her abortive attack which was swept up on the Oude Kwaremont.
She then rode on the front for the final 15 kilometres, chasing for Dutch teammate Kirsten Wild, who claimed fourth.
Arndt wins women’s Tour of Flanders
Ultimately, the bunch couldn’t catch the two leaders, world time-trial champion Judith Arndt and Olympic champ Kristin Armstrong, who escaped 27km from the finish. Arndt went on to clinch victory in a two-up sprint in Oudenaarde.
“The motorbikes were poor, they didn’t tell us who was away, the times, the numbers or anything,” Armitstead added.
“The plan in the morning was to attack after 80 kilometres and try and split it, but it was only us attacking. It was a negative race, which didn’t help.”
It was a missed opportunity for the British Olympic hopeful, especially with Marianne Vos falling ill days earlier and opting not to start.
AA Drink teammate Emma Pooley rolled in one place behind Armistead. She attacked on the Kanarieberg, the fifth climb of nine, without significant effect.
Women’s Tour of Flanders 2012, Oudenaarde, 127 kilometres
1. Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEdge-AIS 3-19-05
2. Kristin Armstrong (Usa) Usa) at 2secs
3. Joelle Numainville (Can) Canada at 30secs
4. Kirsten Wild (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl
5. Adrie Visser (Ned) Skil 1t4i
6. Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-Lululemon
7. Evelyn Arys (Bel) Kleo Ladies Team
8. Christine Majerus (Lux) Team GSD Gestion
9. Anna Van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies CT
10. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Be Pink
34. Lizzie Armitstead (Gbr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl at same time
35. Emma Pooley (Gbr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl at 54secs
63. Lucy Martin (Gbr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl at 8-56