Cavendish finds solace in commitment of his team mates

Mark Cavendish, London 2012 Olympic men's road race

Mark Cavendish never reacts well when he doesn't win. His hatred of losing is part of what drives him to success, but after missing out on Olympic gold today he consoled himself with the efforts of his four team mates.

"The guys are sat there, in their skinsuits, they are spent. They have got nothing left in the tank," he said when speaking to BBC Radio Five Live. "It's incredible to see that to see what they gave for the cause."

Cavendish was the only British rider to finish in the second group that finished just 40 seconds behind winner Alexandre Vinokourov. Ian Stannard sat up in the final metres losing just ten seconds, Bradley Wiggins rolled in one minute 17 seconds down while David Millar and Chris Froome were nine and twelve minutes back.

Each of them had ridden themselves in to the ground and reached their limit before the finish. "We rode the exact race we wanted to ride." Cavendish said. "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."

When the winning move went on the final climb of Box Hill Great Britain found themselves isolated in the chase. Germany had their man Greipel back in the bunch with the British team, and Matt Goss was there for the Australians. Germany did some work, but Australia did none, seemingly happy that Stuart O'Grady (who'd been in the break all day) was in there.

"It seems like most teams are happy not to win as long as we don't win," Cavendish told BBC One. "It's the story of our lives in cycling. It shows what a strong nation we are. We've got to take the positives from that and take it as a compliment."

"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."

London 2012: Live text coverage of cycling events

July 28: Men's road race

July 29: Women's road race

London 2012: Latest news

Tickets for Box Hill? You may need another...

Bradley Wiggins' UKSI Olympic bike

Hoy helicoptered in for opening ceremony

Box Hill closed after local riders give security the slip

Boonen and Gilbert train on Box Hill Olympic circuit

Goss fresh for Olympic Games assault

Trott on top: London 2012

Hoy to be GB flag bearer at London 2012 opening ceremony

Millar: I think about Olympics all the time

Cavendish recognises advantage in missed Tour chances ahead of Olympics

Kenny not Hoy selected for London 2012 sprint

German and French Olympic teams sneak in fourth sprinter

Cavendish: GB's best bet for Olympic gold

London 2012: Team info

Men's road race start list

Women's road race start list

Men's time trial start list

Women's time trial start list

Team GB rider profiles

Great Britain track team confirmed

Bronzini leads Italian Olympic cycling team

British Olympic men's road race team announced

Armitstead and Cooke lead GB women's road cycling team

London 2012: Event guides

Olympic Games women's road race: Who will win?

Olympic Games men's road race: Who will win?

Download detailed Olympic road race route map

London 2012 cycling schedule

London 2012: Reports

Men's road race: Vinokourov wins as Cavendish misses out

London 2012: Photos

Team GB road race training on Box Hill (July 26)

London 2012: Podcasts

Cycling Weekly podcasts on Soundcloud

London 2012: TV schedule

London 2012 BBC TV cycling coverage schedule

London 2012 Eurosport cycling coverage schedule

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1