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."
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Men's road race: Vinokourov wins as Cavendish misses out
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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. In that time he has written product reviews, features and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. Once an aspiring bike racer himself, he can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer.
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