For the second year in a row, the GB mens’ team has failed at the Road Cycling World Championships. Last year, they weren’t expected to do very well – Wiggins had just completed the Tour de France as well as the Olympics, and had just pulled out of the Tour of Britain owing to a combination of illness and fatigue. The course didn’t favour Mark Cavendish, the defending champion, and I got the impression that the GB team was really turning up just to go through the motions in 2012 – even Chris Froome was not regarded as a serious contender. The only medals won were by the womens’ team, taking two golds and two bronzes. However, all this was forgiven amongst a general flurry of cycling medals for Great Britain and the World Championships were disregarded. Despite a second British Tour de France win, however, the expectations were high for this year – yet with 100km to go in a 275km race, there wasn’t a single British rider left in the race. This also followed on from disappointment in silver medals from the Time Trials – an event where Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead were expected to take the gold.
It feels overly-critical to have a go at Team GB’s cycling efforts when they’ve come on so much in recent years, but it would be good to see a British rider complete one of these uber-long distance races and show that Mark Cavendish’s 2011 performance wasn’t a one-off. The trouble is, if Froome can’t manage a win on a course intended to favour climbers, I can’t see where that British winner is coming from.
Shimano have also compiled this excellent video of the day’s racing, showing just how tough the conditions were for the World Championships.