David Brailsford called Great Britain’s performance at the World Championships in Copenhagen one of the most dominant in years. The team’s work led to the first elite men’s road race gold medal for Britain since Tom Simpson’s 46 years ago.
“Doubts? No. Not with the strength of the team, it was by far the strongest team and was one of the most dominant team performances you’ve seen at the World Championships,” said British Cycling’s performance director, Brailsford.
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“It just goes to show what you can do if you are riding with the belief that you can win the race. Right from go, they took it on.”
Without radio communication from the team car as per race rules, the teams had to make on-the-road decisions. David Millar guided Great Britain and “marshalled the troops” for Cavendish’s win.
“We broke the race down into its key parts and decided who was going to work where,” Brailsford added. “Everything that’s good about Dave Millar you saw today: he didn’t panic, he was calm, he was strong… I think Mark owes him and the rest of the team a massive pat on the back.
“Of course, Mark’s got to have the legs in the end. Credit to him. Off he went and won.”
Cavendish and his seven team-mates avoided the race’s big crash with just over five laps remaining. It took out defending champion and pre-race favourite, Thor Hushovd.
Brailsford said that riding at the front all day made sure Cavendish would be kept ahead of most dangers. Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas ushered Cavendish to the final bend, where Brailsford said that Cavendish wanted to be in 10th position.
“There’s nobody better at finding his way,” added Brailsford. Cavendish is “a natural born winner.”
Cavendish never had any doubts. “When I arrived at the hotel, he pulled me to one side, sat me down and told me he was going to win,” Brailsford said.
“It has to be his biggest win. He’s done something that very few people do. It will go down in history and puts him down as an all-time great.”