Of the four British riders, 20-year-old Swift lasted longest, pulling out with one lap of the 24-kilometre circuit to go. He said: “I didn’t come into the race with big goals. My job was to go with the main moves and look after Steve as best I could. I missed the big move, but Bellis got into it, and then I could sit back a bit.
“On the climbs I tried to stay near the front as much as possible. But it’s such a hard race. The speed they went up the climbs at the end, it got really grippy.”
Bellis was the youngest rider in the race. He doesn?t turn 20 until next Saturday.
He marked the big break of the race containing Carlos Sastre and Jens Voigt but got dropped on the climb and waited for the bunch before climbing off with five laps to go.
He said: ?It?s one of the hardest races I?ve been in and I wasn?t feeling particularly good at the start. I?d been looking forward to the race. I felt good coming into it so I was disappointed I didn?t feel so good this morning.
?I was so nervous last night I hardly slept, but I enjoyed the experience.
?I went with the lead group and it was hard. Seeing Sastre put in a few hard turns really made the difference.?
Hammond was seventh in the road race at the Athens Olympics four years ago. Hammond and Steve Cummings climbed off together with three laps to go.
Hammond said: ?Today was like a limitation thing for us in relation to the course. It?s the hottest and most humid day this week, which is unfortunate. A lot of big names have been struggling and have stopped. It?s totally different to racing in Europe. In Europe you get pain in the legs, here it is the heat and humidity.?
?We came late to the Games and I didn?t adapt to the time zone, conditions or climate. I was on the limit all day. It was a hard course for me. Some people can cope with it, I didn?t.?
He added that he was still optimistic of doing a good ride in Wednesday?s time trial. ?Two weeks ago I had good condition and you don?t just lose it like that.?
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