Olympic Road Race: The Moment The Race Was Won

With 8km go go both Rigoberto Uran and Alexander Vinokourov attacked at the same time. They came round a ninety degree bend and both jumped out of the saddle, one going on the left and the other on the right of a wide road. It looked like happy coincidence, both riders went clear and found themselves able to cooperate. But this dual effort seemed to confuse the others and gave them the chance to get a small lead and co-operate. It was the moment the race was won.

The race rolled out of London at a steady tempo until riders began to go clear after 20km, in time swelling to 12 riders as the reached the countryside. It didn’t look like the move would stick but in fact some of the riders in the move would make to the finish and one, Alexander Kristoff, took the bronze medal.

Behind the navy and white colours of Great Britain were the most visible, all they needed was a blue light on their helmets to complete the “policeman” look as they controlled the bunch with occasional help from Germany. The British pace was a high tempo but this allowed moves to go and an early attack by Vincenzo Nibali and Philippe Gilbert amongst others went clear but got pulled back. It looked the template for the whole day, riders could go clear but the relentless British tempo would get them back. At this point things were looking good for Mark Cavendish, he was going to pass the Box Hill test.

But if the race had not been so selective, it meant that the last time up Box Hill several riders got clear from a large bunch. Over the top of the hill and the pace eased and several more riders went again, this time Lars Petter Nordhaug of Norway surged, taking Fabian Cancellara with him. It was what the French call “a floating moment” where there were so many riders jumping around that the British tempo could not control the race.

Jumping out of the Box
As they left the Box Hill circuit for good a group of 32 riders had formed. Think about it, that was about one third of the field left in the race. Behind Great Britain were chasing but it quickly began to look unlikely they’d catch the breakaway which was being driven hard by the Spanish squad, their red and yellow kit resembling McDonalds workers, serving fast food for thought to the home crowd who could sense Cavendish’s chances were slipping. Aided by Team Sky’s Bernhard Eisel, the British riders were doing long turns but this only showed nobody else was coming through, it should have been fast “through and off” but nobody else was there. The Australians could argue they had O’Grady up the road and the Germans didn’t want to give a free ride to Cavendish, even if they stood a chance with Greipel. The result was a suburban stalemate with Brits riding just to cap the breakaway’s lead.

Ahead the group rolled through Richmond Park and it was Fabian Cancellara who rolled off, getting a corner wrong and crashing hard into a barrier, the TV images suggested he won’t be riding the time trial. He was the most feared rider in the group and it showed, as he went out the others looked around, unwilling to push the pace with a big name down. It all came as a surprise for he’d been tweeting pictures of him training around the same roads just 24 hours before. This had the effect of making the group more open, no longer were the Swiss riding for their leader.

The break saw a few moves but these were caught and then with 8km to go we saw the near-simultaneous attacks from Uran and Vinokourov. It looked serendipitous, a freak chance that two riders would jump at the same time. The others were caught out, hesitating whether to go to the left or the right. This gave the duo a small head start and it was enough to ride on as the chase behind could not organise.

Two minutes later the pair seemed to exchange words. Vinokourov has apparently arranged loans in the closing kilometres of a race but perhaps it was just words of encouragement this time? After all Uran is neither a sprinter nor a finish-line fox.

Either way the pair came onto the claret tarmac of the Mall with a good advantage. If the pair started their move with a simultaneous attack, this time Vinokourov jumped whilst Uran seemed stuck another time zone, leaving the Kazakh plenty of time to sit up and celebrate as he crossed the line.

A 1-2-3 for Team Telekom

Vinkourov can’t escape the past but look back and he’s a metaphor for the whole sport. He took a silver medal in the Sydney Olympics, apparently under team orders from his Telekom trade team to let Jan Ullrich win and the podium picture above is as much a testimony to money as it is to gigantic doping schemes. Finally busted for blood doping in the Tour de France he’s returned but was going to retire until the Astana team realised they’d lose their licence without Vinokourov’s haul of ranking points. Sport has its heroes and villains and he’s been both during his career.

  • The moment the audience was lost: if the racing was good and the crowds very impressive the TV production was appalling. Apparently there was a request from the special in-house Olympic Broadcast Services company to keep the TV screen “clean” but this appears to ignore what it is to watch a race on television, a very different experience to seeing it from the roadside and therefore needing appropriate production techniques. Besides, so much for the “clean screen” as events like track cycling, swimming and athletics get a timer and other graphics permanently on screen.

145 thoughts on “Olympic Road Race: The Moment The Race Was Won”

  1. Good write-up as usual. I am glad Vino won. He is emblematic of the sport and the Champion cycling deserves!
    PS: Anyone know where I can watch the finish — I couldn’t watch the race!

    • Very poor TV coverage from the BBC, really expected a better job from Auntie. To be honest I’m more than a little embarrased by the standard of the broadcasting and commentary. Poor timechecks for viewers and riders plus the Camera bikes were too close, makes me wonder what the commissaires were doing (not that it an easy job)?

  2. Indeed “It looked serendipitous” when Uran and Vino attacked simultaneously and that was where the race winning move was made. However, the race was surely lost on the Box Hill circuit when the break was down to around 45 secs and the fact that several got across on last lap was testament to the fact that Team GB should have closed it down there and then. Once there was added impetus to the break, that was it really as there was real cohesion initially to keep the gap. Spain must be kicking themselves tho’, 3 good guys in the break and they didn’t even podium.

    As for the TV coverage, words fail me. Seem to confuse poor old Hugh Porter somewhat but he’ll bounce back, he does know his track racing.

  3. Vinokourov is an unrepentant blood doper. No explanation, zero remorse, no payback. not a good day for the sport. OBS were appalling! And I bet they don’t care what people think either!

    • Is Schelck repentant? And Basso? And Virenque? And Armstrong? Let’s keep in mind the role our own nationalistic biases play when we criticize Vino. He’s just as worthy as any of the above mentioned riders. Chapeau bas Vino!

      • That they aren’t apologetic hardly excuses Vino. And he’s more than just a rider who was kicked out for blood doping – he is also influential in a team mired in controversy.

    • Andy – couldn’t agree more. Vino is a boil on the sport that needs lancing. Any sane person would look at that finish and say that he bought that Gold medal. Uran may not be a sprinter but at the end of the day he is a professional cyclist. That pause and look-around was beneath a c grade rider in a small town crit. Poor acting. Obviously it is easy to say all of this from my armchair but Vino has enough on his record to give us good reason to doubt him.

      Well done to the English for a great course and awesome support for the race. The number of spectators was amazing. TV coverage was poor.

      • Well… then I’m not the only one who noticed that Uran looked back for a long time in moment which should have only allowed a very quick glance to check upon the chasers… Will we ever find out what happened…

  4. Decent enough race and team GB totally outplayed (victims of Sky’s success). Shocking coverage. Vino’s victory is a decent dose of realism for British cycling fans after the highs of this year. Time to take that new bike back to Halfords.

    • This is a really interesting point. We found it frustrating not to know the gaps as it reduced the spectacle. However riders are not there to appreciate a spectacle. Possibly they are there to provide one? As to whether radios help or hinder the provision of spectacle, would Uran have had an excuse for such a long “glance” if he had been provided with an update in his earpiece?

      By the way, anyone know when Uran’s contract with Sky is up?

  5. Bittersweet…bitter…’old doper makes a comeback’…Vino rides again. Whatever adjectives suit your feelings about Vinokourov, he rode a good, hard race with apparent endurance and power like he was still a younger man. I was yelling for Uran to win the Gold for Colombia because he’s a fav of mine, but he doesn’t have a sprinter’s kick, so he proudly took home the Silver today 🙂

    Cheers for Phinney for rolling in 4th for us on the other side of the pond! Cheers for Kristoff and Norway on the Bronze medal, and 6th for O’Grady ain’t bad at all for one of the old men of the peloton.

    Really bummed about Cancellara’s freak crash, what an emotional year for him. Looked like another fracture 🙁 Aside from my cheers for Uran, had Cancellara been there with Vino I would have had the windows vibrating and been happy as a pig in mud to see Gold draped around his neck.

    No TV for me, so watched several online sources in different languages and yes the coverage was sub-par. Without CN ticker on the side of my screen I wouldn’t have known very much from what I was watching. Video quality was poor and couldn’t even read the names of riders that would flash across the screen.

    Really looking forward to the women’s races and the men’s TT — that should be exceptional!

  6. Yes, the TV was terrible. I mean I was crazy not knowing how much is left, guessing maybe they can stay away or not.

    The race was good, fortunately.

  7. INRNG.. may want to edit a bit on the Cancellara paragraph, i.e., “… hard into a …”

    Van Garderen and Phinney injected some interest in the finale. Almost a medal for Phinney.

    Uran made a classy move.

    Glad the hype about Sky/Cavendidn’t is over.

  8. Vino got caught doing what most riders did ten years ago, but he has also purchased wins and my overall feeling about this is dissatisfied. I would have liked to see Cav sprint for gold or Cancellara have a chance to attack, but positive tactics (it’s certainly not negative to attack to distance a rider) and a fall doomed both.

    The US did quite well to get a man into position to medal, and it appeared that only Taylor Phinney’s inexperience prevented him from reaching the podium. Disappointing, but the future looks awfully bright for US cycling.

    • You think Vino is the only one buying races? Think again. Once an ex-pro told me the only reason that Poulidor never won the Tour de France was because he was too cheap. I was shocked by this and he told me “what’s the problem with being paid to let someone else win? We’re professionals, in it for the money.”

      • I thought Poulidor was disliked cause he attacked too much and didnt have any allies, andthis info came from good old inrng so it must be true

        • He didn’t always have the allies… because of money. He was infamous for winning small prizes in a race, taking “bread from the mouths of others”. If he was more willing to spend money on recruiting allies then he could have won more… and earned more.

  9. Silver for Team Sky!

    The Spanish and Swiss seemed to get their tactics just right compared to the British but still got no medals, that’s racing I guess.

    I can’t believe the TV didn’t even manage to show the sprint finish for the bronze medal properly, & no replay on the coverage I was watching.

  10. Did the absence of radio communication play a role in Team GB’s slip-up?

    Would this have implications for an eventual Tour sans radio?

    Hope that Wiggins has not knackered himself for the TT.

    • I think the radios had some effect but teams had staff posted on the circuit to give regular time checks. Instead for me it was the reduced team size, capped at five riders but many with teams of two or three, that made it very open. Britain could not chase like Team Sky and nine riders.

  11. Moments the race were lost:
    1) The fact that Uran was looking over his left shoulder, despite having just looked over his right shoulder and seen Vino there. At this point Vino attacked, and the therefore gave him an advantage

    2) GBs success, letting everyone know their tactics/aim and that it was Cavs aim for the year. The race soon became GB vs the rest of the world as if not in a breakaway the rest of the teams left the work to GB (as they did to Sky in le Tour). The teams that helped out towards the end of the race with the chase should have worked harder. No point saving men for a lead out if you’re not all together for a sprint. To win you’ve got to be in the leading group, not at the back hoping GB would be able to pull it back after spending all day on the front.

      • If Uran didn’t get paid to lose he should be extremely embarrassed. That finish should be required viewing on ‘how not to sprint’ in any cycling club.

        • It’s a shame we would even think Uran was oaud to do what he did, but I guess theres no avoiding it with Vinos history. Uran made it very easy to attack for victory and it all looked very unreal.

          • I can understand people being angry with Vino for buying the race…..but shouldn’t we be even more disgusted with Uran for SELLING it?

  12. Well deserved win which just proves that the ever attacking style beats “numbers and what we have trained for” by a country mile. No pacing from the TV camera motor bikes or Bernie Babysitter Eisel changing citizenship for a while could save the Team GB from being a few men short and suddenly we saw the advantage of qatching cycling when riders are not being informed on time diff´s from the DS´s. Sure the time gabs were missed, but hey, thats racing. If David Miller is invited – so is Vino – and their likes.

      • This Millar v Vino issue is a being distorted.

        First, Millar didn’t win, did he? Second, Vino sets up a whole team, Millar didn’t. Vino’s team has been connected to other dopers and the perception is that they are a negative force in cycling that is tolerated because they have funding.

        • And if Vino is clean?
          When Vino was busted, nearly every winning cyclist was doping. Even the hero David Millar. To love some ex-dopers and hate others is arbitrary at best. There are guys you think are clean that are/were doping, and just because you’re a fan doesn’t mean your guy is clean now.

          Winning cyclists have doped for over 50 years, including the giants of the sport. And they are probably still doing it.

          • Doubter’s timeline is *way* off

            Vino was busted in 2008, and by that time, Millar had served his 2 years, bummed around a while, joined Saunier-Duval, quit them in disgust after Ricardo Ricco got busted, and joined a small ProConti team with a laughable goal of racing clean.

  13. I’m with alot of people here, mixed emotions about Vino. I will say this though, I like the way he races. Aggressive and not afraid to put all his cards on the table. He’s been put through the testing so I believe his is a “clean” win. Same for Sky, I mean Great Britan, I was rooting for Cav!

    TV coverage was absolutly horrible here in the US. Thanks NBC Sports for doing such a terrible job on the opening ceremony and men’s road race. I won’t be renewing my subscription with you for next year!

    • I’d guess that NBC Sports were taking their pictures (and lack of info) from the Olympic Broadcasting Service, same as everyone else. Or was there something else about the NBC coverage that displeased you?

      • I’d say it was too many commercials, too much inane banter and talking over important moments from commentators (Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira) – blergh.

        • I haven’t watched TV for about three years, but Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera?! Both very likeable, but do they have any knowledge and/or experience with this type of commentating?

          NBC shoulda borrowed Bob Roll and a sidekick. The “too many commercials” is why I don’t watch TV anymore and it’s a pet peeve to have commentators talking over important moments in a race. How embarrassing for NBC — hope they got a lot of flack for that.

  14. Once again your analysis is light years ahead of any other website and more witty bar none ! Is Vino really that spry to keep 15 plus chasers away for over 5k? Makes you wonder…

    • ed, yes the InRing analysis is great but declaring it better than any other? Try CyclingTips.com, a great Aussie site – equal to. That said, I enjoy the InRing. As for Cav & Co complaining about Australia’s tactics, hmm, no attacks during the TDF from Sky, no attacks in the Olympic road race from GB, and somehow it’s Australia’s fault.

  15. Like many, I have mixed feelings about Vino–did (does) drugs, seems unrepentant, fixes races, etc. but I can’t help but admire his skill and foxy finishing, punking the peloton and spoiling the party.

    I also feel that Team GB (keep wanting to call them Team Sky) was a victim of their own Tour success.

  16. Just back home with surprisingly sunburnt arms. My thoughts:

    1)Eisel on the front in the last 25km left a more sour taste than Vino winning. The guy knows how to read a race better than anyone, except perhaps Rebellin, in the last 10 years.
    2)Too bad for GB and I don’t want to hear the complaints. You lay it all on the table and lost. Sorry but that’s sport. It’s no-one else’s fault. Suck it – it’s a tactic that’s been around for years and they can be pleased that it is their strength caused it and not Italy or Belgium.
    3)Did Australia really think that once Stuey was in the break they could just sit in and do nothing? One little attack from Rogers that was swept up quickly. Evans was in the back third of the group all day.
    4)I have no doubt Cancellara would have won. He would have gotten onto that move and won the sprint.
    5)Best 1 day race of the year so far and probably my favourite since the Geelong Worlds or perhaps Goss’s MSR.

    On an organisational side it was a bit of a mess today – people with spots on the side of the road for hours being moved 30 minutes before the race came through, the bottom area of the hill was over crowded so they ushered people into the top area “but we’re not sure they’ll let you in” (they did, but it was a long long walk on uneven ground – 1 young girl was in tears at how long the walk was) and no one really knew which roads were closed, where you could get through with tickets or without and a general air of confrontation was surrounding the “volunteers” and the crowd at all the mis-information. Cops were all nice.

    Ultimately a good day out though and a great race. A worlds on this circuit with no return to London would be excellent – another 3 or 4 laps and a finish on the false flat.

    • 2)Too bad for GB and I don’t want to hear the complaints. You lay it all on the table and lost. Sorry but that’s sport. It’s no-one else’s fault. Suck it – it’s a tactic that’s been around for years and they can be pleased that it is their strength caused it and not Italy or Belgium.

      I agree with the sentiment, GB could expect no favours on the road today and they certainly didn’t get any. But you have to wonder what was going on with the Aussies and the Germans, who had genuine sprint medal prospects, but basically did bugger all to try and bring the break back. Sure, Australia had O’Grady in the break, but did they think he was their best shot? Just really strange, negative tactics, but nothing new.

      Decent enough race, but I don’t want to be subjected to BBC road cycling coverage again in a hurry. Why on earth did the Eurosport coverage start so late? Also, as most people have mentioned, the lack of graphics/time gaps was very very poor indeed.

      • All I can think of Australia is that they thought Goss could do it with a full and fresh lead out against a solo Cav and anything else and he wouldn’t be in it. He hasn’t had the form in reality so maybe they just thought O’Grady was a shot. It was negative but I just don’t think GB can be surprised no one helped. They’ve had their tactics public for 12 months now – Sorry Dave Brailsford, some things you just can’t control with numbers and an SRM….and that makes me happy.

        • Fair comment @jkeltgv, no doubt that GB can have no complaints. @Chuffy – I’m not ‘complaining’ with a GB hat on, although my initial lines might have suggested that, apologies for the confusion. I just wonder about the negative tactics of other teams, a point I bemoaned in the TdF in relation to Greenedge.

        • The Australians had bad race selection (I am not suggesting they may or may not have won) – Evans should not have been picked and unfortunately Gerrans looked stuffed from the Tour. Why no Richie Porte? Matt White, DS of Greenedge, also selects Australia’s teams. Huge conflict of interest. He seems to take a set against some riders eg Mark Renshaw was not picked at the Worlds when Cavandish won and again Portethis time. Matt Goss was awfully close that day and in form. How can anyone say Vino was taking money. What was Eisal doing. What does Cavandish expect? How can he say it is the Australians fault he didn’t win – didn’t Team Sky oops Team GB get time to hand out instructions, to the other nations, exactly how the race should have been conducted. Shame on you Rest of the World. As to Vino – yes, controversial but he has given so much pleasure with his cycling style and to come back after the broken femur last year. He is always interesting and attacking. Apart from the coverage debacle the lack of race radios shows how exciting and and unpredicable racing can and should be.

      • @theladder &jkelttv
        I don’t get how you can go from ‘suck it up Team GB’ to then complaining yourselves about the tactics deployed by the German and Australian teams. You seem a little conflicted there.

        • I just don’t think it’s for GB to complain and imply they would have won had the got help – yeah, loads of teams raced with strange tactics including Australia but the point stands that GB have to suck it, regardless of the other nations tactics. Despite what Brailsford may think, there are some things in road racing that can’t be controlled….including other teams tactics.

          • They might not have won, but at least the chance of the race coming down to a sprint would increase significantly. You’re right though, you can’t control what other teams do and who knew that Team Germany were secretly riding for 26th place?

      • It was a poor race but not because of Team GB and Cavendish – the Germans and Aussies just gave up. Honestly, there does seem to be a lot of rather childish shadenfreude about the British team, which seems a bit sour.

  17. Had a great day watching the race today, made even better by the organisers not closing the route to cyclists until 0900 so was able to cycle to Box Hill along the route itself (a fine 40km solo break away) with cheers from the early bird spectators along the road

    Found a good spot on Old London Road (a non-ticket area with in the nine-lap circle) but was increasingly concerned to see TGB at the front of the bunch every single lap, working hard while you could feel the blast of air carrying all the followers along along the narrow roads with very few spat out the back until the last two loops. (hat to Dan from Namibia and the Iran rider for their persistence)

    Moved to a big screen area once the race had moved on and couldn’t believe what i saw and heard: ‘Manx Express’, ‘Team Sky’ (I have great respect for Hugh Porter but it was not a great day for him) no race radios a a fresh bunch up the road and suddenly Sky where not chasing a break away but where themselves spat out the back of new the peloton now led out by Fabian. 35 km to go and i could no longer bear to watch

    I was hoping to cycle the return loop back to hampton only to find it inexplicably still closed to all non foot traffic despite the bunch being almost on the Mall (perhaps a tired Froome et al were still dragging themselves back)

    Overall a fantastic event, slightly overzealously protected initially although the police and event control relaxed visibly after a few laps – less of the ‘don’t walk there’, ‘ don’t put your toe on the road’ etc more 1-2-3 MEXICAN WAVE!!

    Shame about Cav but just goes to show that ‘Sky’ aren’t either invincible or unbelievable

  18. Having watched the race for five hours, you suddenly appreciate the Tour TV coverage. I’ve always taken it for granted but only today, after having seen the rubbish production did I realize how good TDF coverages really are.

  19. “Spanish squad, their red and yellow kit resembling McDonalds workers, serving fast food for thought to the home crowd who could sense Cavendish’s chances were slipping”

    Dude, I love it! This is why you are the BEST!

    So sad the brits lost to Vino, but glad the germans are at least a bit to blame. Real shame for Cancellara.

    But why couldn’t we have had Phil and Paul? it’s never the same without them…

      • And I have to say, they were a very good combo. I’m no Phil and Paul fan normally, but Scott McG was a great foil to Phil. He gave us a real feel for the race.

        Shame he couldn’t explain why Aussies wouldn’t chase for a medal for Goss, but that’s another story – everyone seems happy with 6th place for Stuey.

    • Australia had Phil Liggett (but not Paul) on Foxtel – they didn’t really have much more idea what was going on than anyone else without race radio and graphics (it was Sergio Henao with Vino for a while before he miraculously turned into Uran) so you didn’t miss much

      On the other hand the broadcast was shown in full without ads which was brilliant – sort of like being there, after all you don’t really know what’s going overall if you’re on the side of the road

  20. It’s a shame of a result, because who could ever trust vino is clean… the man was willing to buy a result, dope for a result, he’s always been a stain on cycling and it’s ruined the start of the olympics for me completely.

    And the fact the sport won’t clean itself out properly and wants to let people like him continue to “compete” until they choose to retire is just disgraceful, what sort of message does today send to young riders… it even spits of the main message of the opening ceremony =/

    • Vino proved today that he is a great champion. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch. The rules are what they are – he spent 2 years taking a vacation just like everyone else who has been popped. I agree that doping is a stain and support the idea of life bans, but the way the rules stand today they can come back. I bet you don’t feel the same way about David Millar [whom I don’t mind] – who only admitted to doping once his hands were caught fairly and squarely in that cookie jar. We can’t have rules for one and rules for another based on nationalistic tendencies and the language barrier.

      • If i had the ability to tell the future and knew he was going to win i wouldn’t of watched…

        And secondly i actually do feel the same way about millar, even a remorseful return is a return that gives a bad message… apologise and 2 years later you can come back and make loads of money and have fans and love again is still disgusting, just slightly less so because of the embarrassment and guilt they had to sit through.

        I don’t even want to see dopers get into any part of a team, not even a mechanic, they shouldn’t be allowed around the sport at all.

        And lastly, he hasn’t proved he’s a great champion, he’s merely shown (like he has done for years) that without drugs he still could of been a good cyclist. Champion is a title and reverence reserved for people who don’t break the rules, today he is just “the recipient of the medal” for me.

  21. Disappointed with the comments on here regarding that unrepentant wanker winning.

    Mind you the doping results aren’t back yet!

    GB were 40 seconds off the win, not a bad plan, but had to carry other teams in their train.

  22. Congrats to Vino, taking advantage of the how the race unfolded.

    Just a thought though, the Aussies had a sprinter who had a chance of winning, or at worst silver or bronze yet they were invisible when it mattered…hope Goss enjoyed the training ride!

    • The Australians were far from invisible. They had O’Grady road-captaining the break for the whole day, Rogers trying to bridge around the midway point with Goss tucked in the bunch in case it came back together. Gerrans also tried to make the final split but missed the move (which happens). One of the more active teams in the race I would have thought.

  23. Really disappointed at the coverage on TV. Even though the BBC have full broadcast rights in the UK, NBC have the Olympic franchise as much as McDonalds or Coke so sadly they have no experience of the sport that a French broadcaster could’ve given them a master class in.

    Cavendish is still the faster of the sprinters but even he doesn’t win every stage he goes for and thats the difference in the Olympics – no 2nd chance or 21st chance even. I think he may be one Brit wishing it was Paris who had won these Olympics.

  24. THis is hilarous…
    The BBC even expressed their frustration at the TV coverage, even placing blame, because it turns out that the Olympic broadcast is outsourced to the Olympic Broadcasting Services, which was described by @inrng as “a cosy company with monopoly TV rights granted by IOC. Directors include ex-UCI boss Hein Verbruggen”.

  25. Great debate as always – Haven’t seen the tv images yet. Not much mentioning of the belgians who had a decent race , despite Gilbert pointless jump. Boonen had a puncture 10 k from the finish apparently, could have tried like Cancellara, what poor luck for him and Tom.
    Bought it probably, shame thatthis should happen in an olympic race. The fact that they are professionals , or paid to do a job , doesn’t really wash with me. It goes to show that cycle racing keeps to its own inner workings and ‘protocol’.
    The peloton were just silent tho , let GB do the race control who were draining energy by the 3 rd round , I felt was clearly visible. Ah well let’s see again on Wednesday , time trial I think is possibly more pure as an Olympian ,discipline anyway.
    All in all great day on the London and Surrey roads!

    • The first we saw of Boonen on the TV was him riding on his own as if he’d been dropped by some group – was he in the lead group before this? If he’d been able to replicate his form from the spring I’d go so far as to say that that puncture cost him an Olympic medal!

      The finish was exciting but a Boonen/ Cancellara head to head would have been dynamite.

  26. I remember talk a while ago of where mature age recruits could come from and many suggested rowing over iron man/triathletes for their anaerobic capacity, something along the lines of no team needs someone who can TT for 180km, I recon they could have used the extra endurance today

  27. I remember talk a while ago of where mature age recruits could come from and many suggested rowing over iron man/triathletes for their anaerobic capacity, something along the lines of no team needs someone who can TT for 180km, I recon GB could have used the extra endurance today

  28. Gutted that Vino won it. He certainly raced very well today but not only is he unrepentent about his doping but I wouldn’t for a millisecond bet anyone on here’s mortgage that he is riding clean, never mind my own. (By the way, I hate that I think like that.)

    Team GB set themselves up for this to happen so I have no sour grapes that we lost. The guys looked knackered with about 40 miles still to go. Just can’t really understand the reluctance of eg the German and Aussie teams to race for a medal. Watching Greipel actually race for 24th (?) was just surreal. Why, why?

    I would like to see the Team Medal Comp brought back to the RR with all the teams having the same number of riders (4 with 3 to count). I realise this may stop some of the smaller countries from entering a team but surely there are ways round this. The return for all the effort of Team GB, and the Swiss and Spanish in the breaks, trying to get winning positions for one of their riders was miniscule particularly as the RR supplies the TT riders as well. Certainly it might stop teams at the back from treating it like a training ride/sportive if there’s something else to ride for.

    • The host nation gets to select the course and it was widely believed (from my reading of cycling forums and press) that this course would suit Team GB – and fair enough too. The narrowness of the roads and topography made it difficult for teams to move up and down the peloton. Cavandish always throws a hissy fit if it doesn’t go his way.

      Vino has not had any serious results since he was suspended so I suspect he isn’t doping now (also get a grip – Team GB has a ex-doper but that is alright I suppose – is Millar still doping? – got a nice little stage win in TdeF). Also, if those saying that Vino bought the race does that mean that Uran accepted the bribe? I, for one. don’t think so?

      • ‘Get a grip’ – really, really? That’s poor. The point is he unrepentant (along with others) which means I have no confidence that he isn’t still a doper, and yes obviously DM could be as well.

      • The general consensus seems to be the course was commendably fair, it is not one designed to suit Cav. Nine times up box hill is the reverse of what he would want and the result supports this.

        Pity about the result – hubris came home to Team GB and the gold went to a bum chum of Schumacher / Rebellin / Ricco ad nauseum

    • Think Brasfield had himself to blame. He treated the race like a pure power display (well, they did have powerful riders) whilst he should have applied some game theory to it.

      Should GB have sent a guy in the break away (Froom or even Wiggins. But Brasfield certainly had written off break away a long time ago. Can anybody remind me of a Sky breakaway apart from Bossa Hagen’s off duty day in this year’s TDF), and have the rest of the team stay together near the front of the peloton rather than trying to boss it, the Aus and the Germans would have to give the chase.

      The break away rider, be it Froom or Wiggins, wouldn’t have to spend much more energy than they’ve already had today and the rest of the team probably would have spent far less. Moreover, they’d have the sprint they wanted or at least stay relevant when it came to the finish.

      It’s a shame that Brafield was still saying that it was difficult rather than impossible to control the race with just 5 people and admit his tactical failure (He’s still my most respected manager but a tactical failure is a tactical failure).

  29. “the breakaway which was being driven hard by the Spanish squad”
    Did you watch the same race? I suggest you stopping the time for how much time the Swiss were driving the group. Substantially more and longer than the Spanish, which definitely worked also hard. Maybe the white-red did not fit with the McDonalds thing. 😉

    Cycling and sports is cruel sometimes. Team GB, Switzerland and to a lower extent Spain, were the three squads that worked the most and hardest. And all three are left with nothing.

    The race showed impressively that the profile does not need to be challenging, it’s what the riders make out of it. The easy profile did not result in the planned and expected gold medal for Cav. I was amazed by the incredibly large and disciplined crowd. A big cycling party. People everywhere. But no jerks or clowns running along the riders, standing in their way or touching them. Also now retards mistaking cycling races for opportunities to show their latest carnival or borat customes or primitive nudity. Congrats to these spectators and cycling fans! A shame that the quality of the TV transmission (splits, gaps, profiles, graphs, regie, etc.) was lousy and nowhere close to the level of the riders.

    • There was just one moment when the Spanish hit the front and the break went from 40 seconds to 60 seconds. But later, yes the Swiss were doing a lot of work.

      There were no people dressed in costumes running along but many riders found the race dangerous because of people standing by the road; but just because of the big numbers.

      • Today on the coverage of the women’s race, they said it was less the big numbers and more because it was fans who’d never really been to a cycling race before, so they were being dumb (or at least dumber than your average cycling fan, which is pretty dumb).

  30. TV coverage was poor…makes you marvel about how well Le Tour is covered. At least you didn’t have to listen to the New Zealand commentary….horrendous!

  31. I think real consideration should be given to reducing the size of the Grand Tour teams. As we saw today, a smaller squad cannot strangulate a race. Would lead to more exciting racing.

  32. The look on Pat McQuaid’s face was priceless, a symphony of distaste for Vino.

    Congrats to Team GB for winning the team time trial event, shame on ze Germans for their lack of effort. Hitching a free ride does not a winner make.

    No shame for the Australians, despite what Cavendish said; they did have O’Grady in the break all day.

  33. I might have missed the memo,; was GB guaranteed a gold medal before the race was actually held?

    With the arrogance and public (over)confidence exhibited by team Sky,er, GB, the rest of the field played it perfectly, and let their 5 man team attempt to control a 250km race. It was doubtful from the beginning. Why would anybody but maybe Germany assist GB set up a sprint?

    As for those bitter about Vino, he is easily one of the most exciting racers of the last decade. And I hate to break it to you, but any of his contemporaries that won like he did…..doped. If he is riding clean now, it is a well-deserved victory.

    • Maybe I’m being extremely naive/blinded by patriotism (I’m Colombian), but I seriously doubt that Uran accepted a bribe from Vino. Dude’s being hailed as a hero at home just for medaling (this is only our 12th olympic medal of any kind). Can you imagine if he had won gold for a country as cycling-mad as we are? He’d be immortal.

      Anyway, great race from him. He made us Colombians proud

      • And that’s why I’m certain Uran wouldn’t have sold the race at any price. I can’t believe the cynical ignorance of people suggesting he would. Just shows no understanding of how high profile cycling is in Colombia and the history of the sport in the country.

        GB’s undoing was that it was O’Grady who got in the break and not another Australian. Any other rider from their team and I’m pretty certain they would have committed to riding for the sprint after Box Hill.

        Vino won by riding smart against Uran, who was perhaps overwhelmed by the situation he found himself in.

  34. trying to watch the race in a crowded pub back in Australia with no sound (and constantly jumping between other sports) it was a nightmare. You’d see pics of riders going solo and you had no idea if they were in front, trying to bridge the gap, nor could you tell how far the peloton was back… It really highlighted how effective the TdF coverage is in giving an instant snapshot of the race.

  35. Spare a thought for those of us watching in Asia. The telecast used the ‘Cancellara crash’ as its cue to switch to 90mins of women’s weightlifting…

    • Let’s look at it this way, Uran is no sprinter, not stage win hunter. He doesn’t have much experience coming in the line. The prove was that he looked over his shoulder on the left and Vino was on the right (really?) trying to check whether the chaser has closed the gap. At 200m to the line, and the distance that he had, there’s no way they can shut it down, he should have known, like Vino did.

      Vino knew at that point and he didn’t hesitate for a second, and jumped. It took Uran almost 3 seconds to realize Vino has jumped. That was the moment he lost. If Uran had looked to the right instead, things might have been different, but still unlikely given he’s not fast finisher.

  36. My thoughts:

    1. If Team GBs tactic was to rely on other teams to work in a particular way for their own plans to come off then that is a MASSIVE tactical failure and a complete misunderstanding of elite Road Racing.

    2. Team GBs pace was designed to save Cav on the climbs, this caused three things i) the first break was able to stay away ii) the second break got away (these two things lost the race for the group) iii) most of the field was able to stay with that chasing peloton – I was astounded there wasn’t a higher rate of attrition amongst the lesser nations.

    3. Cav did no work himself – EXTREME arrogance to say “four guys worked hard for 250km no one else would help us” you mean help THEM don’t you Mark – work hard yourself mate, you don’t deserve gold for being towed around all day and then sprinting for 300m – the guys in the break were all working, some of them all day – and all deserved their position in front of you.

    4. Australia had no reason to work early – with O’Grady in the break you don’t chase and then when the second break went clear it was all over – Australia, Germany, and GB (13 Riders working – O’Grady was away and Cav certainly wasn’t working – if Goss and Greipel didn’t work either then only 11 riders) were never going to catch a break of 20+

    5. Typically p*ssy post-race response from Cav about O’grady not being a winner from that group – he got 6th mate, many, many places ahead of you by taking his chances, working hard all day, and not relying on, or complaining about other nations or their riders.

    6. Vino won. If you’re able to start you’re able to win, I doubt Uran would have taken a bribe – and if Vino, Millar and the other positives were out of the race Cav still wouldn’t have won – not sure all the people outraged on behalf of Cav realise this.

    Anyway, for what they’re worth there’s my thoughts – I love Cav, he is a brilliant and talented rider who will win many more races – but it is easy to see why the media want to interview him after a loss – the contrast between the genuine exhausted disappointment from his team mates and the bitter petty words from him personally are very stark.

    Also easy to see why Cav wasn’t chosen to give the Olympic oath about Fair Play, Sportsmanship, and respect…..

    • Agreed Craig, every point well made, Think Cav’s should manup. They/he lost, they were not good enough. End of story. Although you have to say as always he praises, respects and eulogises his Chauffers, which I respect.

      • Fair points but I think most of the moaning seems to be coming from the British media who had Cavendish in gold before the race started, hyping up expectations beyond reason.

        As anyone with a betting account soon learns, cycling is a sport where the favourites often don’t win.

        • ”As anyone with a betting account soon learns, cycling is a sport where the favourites often don’t win”

          Actually, it’s not restricted to cycling.

          In horse racing for example, favourites win only about a third of the time. That means that most of the time they lose. If you blindly back favourites, you will end up losing around 5% of your stakes over time.

          The betting market simply reflects the weight of money that is bet, which in turn is a reflection of punters’ opinions. It’s a pretty efficient market, and if you can do the simple arithmetic, you can soon translate odds into probabilities.

          But it’s a fallacy to assume that favourites necessarily win more times than they lose.

  37. I personally think the race was lost the moment Team Sky (oops, sorry, Team GB) announced to the wordl that their 1 and only plan was Cav – no Plan B. The “dream team” was going to control a 250K race with 4 riders. Sorry, but there was no chance.

    Just a pity that Cancellara crashed – otherwise we’d be talking about a far more deserving gold winner, and how the aggressive (positive) tactics of the Swiss, Spanish, Belgians and Italians deservedly got the better of the hardworking but doomed Brits.
    Germany and to a lesser extent Australia, got what they deserved out of the race – nothing !

    TV coverage was appalling – good pictures, but garbage information and lets not get started on the Hugh Porter/Chris Boardman commentary – worse than Duffield or Phil+Paul, something I’d have thought impossible.

  38. After a conversation with a Colombian friend who got to watch I was absolutely disgusted that not a single sky/gb rider went to congratulate Uran at the finish.
    World Champion? World Champion of tantrums, fits and childish behavior.
    Funny how that translates to the sky fanbois so easily. Blame everyone else kids. They all raced so negative cav couldn’t win!

    As for Uran selling his “win” some of you folks have no idea what cycling means to Colombia. Just accept the fact that your team lost and enjoy the women’s race today.

    • In my view all of this talk of buying the gold medal by Vino is more a reflection on what everyone thinks about Vino rather than any negative sentiment towards Uran. Ultimately we don’t really know what happened but Vino has been implicated in buying L-B-L last year, he is an unrepentant doping cheat and a former rider for some of the most doped-up teams the sport has ever seen (Casino, Telekom, Liberty Seguros, etc) so we have every right to question him and his ethics. Buying races has also been deeply ingrained in the history of professional road racing, you only need to read a few cycling biographies to know that. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Vino bought that race.

      As for Uran’s position, I don’t think a gold medal would really change his contract position, isn’t he still on a contract with Sky? Only difference may be if he has a bonus clause in his current contract that gives him more for an Olympic victory (which of course may have been wholly or at least partly covered by any payment from Vino). Also, doesn’t Uran come from a very poor background? I seem to recall reading somewhere that he has been supporting his immediate family since his late teens with his income from cycling. Silver and a large bonus could be tempting in those circumstances. Again, pure speculation on my part and I hope it didn’t happen but hard to say with any certainty that it didn’t. Maybe the Kazak cycling federation/Kazak government armed Vino with the dollars pre-race? Hold the phone – there’s a theory worth debating!

    • While I understand many cycling fans’ doubts on Vino winning clean, I surely can’t how can someone suggest that a guy like Uran, who has never been implicated in any doping/violation, is a cheat who sells victories.

  39. Wasn’t the bad coverage due to the no-earphones rule? It would hardly make sense to ban earphones if you then just have the live info on TV which most/all directeur sportifs would have in their cars.

    • But if there’s no team radio, how can the DSs tell the riders?

      IIRC, before team radios the time gaps were always given on race radio, with gaps given to riders by chalkboard-carrying motorbikes. The official race info is completely separate to the broadcaster’s supply of info to the viewer.

      The coverage on TV was poor – the lack of info on riders and time gaps was really bad on OBS behalf; but add in the BBC commentary, and it was dire. In the women’s race yesterday, Porter and Boardman were going on about the leaders not being given time gaps, just as a motorbike was alongside with the guy on the back holding fingers up to indicate the gap (assumedly because the rain wouldn’t let him write on his whiteboard!).

      As for the race – you might not like Vino, but he’s a proper racer. Got in the break, timed his attack perfectly and won the race. He’s been doing it he’s whole career.

      • To answer your first question, by going to the team car? Obviously most likely in a full TdF team rather than with a 2 man team in an Olympic road race 🙂

        I worry that the peloton has got use to having the info directly transmited to the riders and that getting rid of the earpieces isn’t actually going to brings us back to more attacking cycling but something rather unexpected.
        I suppose we shall see soon enough !

  40. The Moment the Race Was Lost was when Braislford and British Cycling declared themselves the clear favorites and told everyone there exact strategy. I’ve never seen a group so full of themselves.

  41. Great example of why the races must actually be held rather than just annoucing that the victor is the top favorite. And, as an added bonus, we now get to wonder about the chat on the Sky team bus when next Uran and Cav line up together (if ever). With pre-race speculation focused on whether GB can deliver, now, post-race, we can wonder if Uran just rode himself off team Sky. Thoughts?

    • I think we’ll be seeing him in the Vuelta, don’t you? And if he comes second, just ahead of Froome, then he’ll probably get a new contract. As long as his numbers are suitable.
      As for Team GB, I went for a slash, and when I came back they’d lost. Or so it seemed- the coverage was so confusing it took an age to realise exactly who was in the break.

  42. The highlight for me was the way that Stuey managed the break, talking to everyone at the start to get them into the plan, doing his turns and then running up and down the line making sure everyone was working, checking with the commisaires car and letting everyone know what was going on.

    Obviously the plan was for Mick or Gerro to get up to them and do something more from there or have a fresh Goss if it came to a sprint, but after making the race, foiling the GB strategy, doing all that work and still sprinting to 6th was great, but deserved more.

    What a leader, you won’t find many better examples than that outside of military combat, war on wheels.

  43. Well, had a great day out watching the race on box hill. I think it was an exciting end to the finish, especially if you ignored Vino’s past. Of the 2, Urna and Vino, I don’t think there was any real doubt about who would win once they got clear of the lead group, I don’t think Vino would have needed to buy the race. Really happy for Uran. Sky will have an olympic medalist on the team, just a different one than planned.

    Maybe Cav is just frustrated at another olympics without a medal and sticking to the BC plan, apparently he could have made the breakaway group but TeamGB promised him they would be able to pull it back in time.

    Not sure why some are pointing out the he didn’t take his turns on the front, what would the point be in that, he would need all of his energy in a sprint finish to keep off Sagan and Griepel, who weren’t very active either.

    • I saw that comment from Cavendish too. It’s either frustrated bluster or shows him to be a bit of a naive tactician. I’ve only started following races outside the TdF in the last couple of years and even I know that, in a one day race, when Cancellara goes it’s time to either make your move or sit up! If Cav truly had the legs as he claimed he should have thanked his team mates for their work and jumped.

  44. what was the point of entering team in mens race, lf you where content to let team gb do most of work and let others get away. but you can be smug and say we stopped cav from winning

  45. Vino rocks. Uran faltered but cemented his position as a top-tier rider IMO — I hope he gets the hell away from Sky. GB got its comeuppance from producing the likes of “Borat”. GB fans a bunch of sore losers — believe it or not an ethnic Kazahk and Colombian can legitimately beat the British “dream” bots.

    The race was awesome though (as was the women’s race) — perhaps British Cycling should focus some of their $$$ and infrastructure on adding a new premier one-day race.

  46. It was a great race with a sketchy ending and bad coverage (especially bad if you saw the NBC cuts…this is why cycling torrents exist). GB hopefully will learn not to have Rover build their bikes in the future.

  47. So gald we not only went to Box Hill but without tickets to the special area!! We were right on the road side not barriered off 10m away. The atomosphere was fantastic and as good as watching the tour. Got home and could not quite believe how usless the coverage was, a great advert for going to watch your sport rather than viewing it on telly

Comments are closed.