Rod Ellingworth: 'I knew that descent was going to be a deciding factor'

Team GB men's road cycling coach talks about the Rio 2016 Olympic men's road race, after a strong but ultimately unsuccessful from the British riders

(Image credit: Watson)

Despite strong performances from all five riders, the British cyclists were unable to feature in the final sprint for the medals in the Rio 2016 Olympic men's road race.

Rod Ellingworth, Team GB men's road cycling coach, gave his thoughts after a race that saw Geraint Thomas crash out of as possible medal winning position.

"He [Thomas] is alright. He’s fallen heavy, he’s got plenty of skin off but he’s ok I think," Ellingworth said after the rider had been driven away for a medial check.

"Looking at Geraint there, he was proper proper disappointed and he knew that was a proper gold medal chance", the coach said after Thomas was seen sat in a gutter on the final descent of the long and gruelling race.

After other riders, including Vincenzo Nibali, had gone down ahead of his group, Thomas could have been riding to contest the podium. As it was, Greg Van Avermaet was the strongest at the end and took the gold.

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Analysing the race, the British coach said the race was as they'd expected, "It was exactly what we thought; pretty full on all the way.

"The guys, until we hit the final circuit, rode the perfect race I think, and we had bad luck with Ian [Stannard] breaking his bike. There was lots of little crashes and punctures all the time, a few little issues."

Steve Cummings had been overlooked for selection for the squad until Peter Kennaugh withdrew and Cummings was convinced to re-enter the fold.

On Cummings's ride, Ellingworth said, "Steve did a great job bringing the lads into that first climb. We wanted it to be hard, it was hard"

With the Olympics being a one day race with a national, composite team, analysis is only worth so much, but Ellingwoth gave feedback on all his riders; "G [Thomas] put himself in the bike race perfectly.

"Adam [Yates] came round really good, he had a really bad time at the beginning on that first circuit and then he rode himself in, so that was good.

"In general, good teamwork: the way the lads wanted to race was how they actually raced. It’s just unfortunate about the crash at the end; I knew from the test event that descent was perhaps going to be a deciding factor in the race and it was. You think about how many riders crashed down there it was pretty mad really.

That's the Olympics done for four of the five British riders, but Chris Froome will take the start in the time trial on Wednesday August 10, where he is billed as one of the favourites to take gold.

"He [Froome] is ok, he rode well today," said Ellingworh. "He climbed the last mountain, he left a lot of world class bike riders, favourites like [Alejandro] Valverde, all the French guys couldn’t stay with him.

"I think in general his condition’s good; it’s about recovery now and looking after him and giving him the best chance [in the time trial]."

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