Now that all the hype and fuss has died down about the Olympic Road Race and the GB Cycling gurus have vindicated their existence with more predictable track & time trial (clockwork) gold, let's try and have a grown up discussion about what went wrong with the real cycling - the road race, because I don't know about the rest of you but I am furious about the idiotic squandering of our hopes. History repeats itself , British lions led by donkeys. Let's have some real analysis - no quarter - no reputations Rules of discussion - do not even think about contributing unless you have won a 1st Cat Road Race or are a county level chess player and happen to understand road cycling. ie no managers, no couch potatoes, no wannabees, no sun glasses. National Expectations - We wanted a British winner. The press banged on about Cav and it must be said that the thought of him sprinting down the Mall like the Champs Elysee became a national fantasy but in reality it was always 50/50. The course favoured a breakaway. Item 1. No Surrey rider who has ever ridden Box Hill, Woldingham, Cut Mill, White Downs or Leith Hill 8 or more times would think that Cavendish would have or deserve a cat in hell's chance of winning on a Surrey Hill's course in the company of world class single day riders. Item 2. GB had arguably the finest 5 man team on form in the world on the start line The best climber- Froome The best Sprinter- Cavendish The best tester - Brad (possibly solo attack / solo win One of the best Roadman-Sprinters – Millar (Canny, can test and outsprint small Group) The Best Team Rider – Stannard (Solid as a rock) Item 3. Team GB publicly made clear that their plan was to make it happen for Cavendish. The Tour de France team would repay Cavendish for loyalty. It was Cav’s turn. Was this a brilliant bluff or was it a true signal of intent? I did so hope it was a double bluff. Item 4 . Alternative Race Strategies: 1. Conventional Plan for Hilly Course – Your best sprinter is ALWAYS Plan B If team is mediocre - Plan A is to mark every serious move – get 1/2 men into every break – tap through then do the old one two at the death. If team is exceptional – PLAN A : you expect 2 or 3 of yours placed amongst first 6 then you must take the initiative and make them chase you. Champs (Chimps?) don’t chase but Chumps do in amateur races - all the time. With small pro teams on the road at the Olympics it is just like top class amateur road racing, an experience that successful track riders turning back to road at a higher level or their managers perhaps do not fully appreciate? Item 5. Tactics First priority - recognize the true favourite – it was Cancellara What is the greatest tactic in the book ? - Surprise The greatest surprise the GB team demonstrated – was how surprised they were when everyone else did not roll over and play ball. Item 6. What if - “Management” had said: 1. We will have a two plus two plus wild card plan. Cav has Stannard to get him to finish. Millar and Froome will police all breaks. Millar will join attacks before climb - Froome will attack on climb to break it up and link with Millar group and drive. Force other teams to chase. Above all they must co –ordinate attacks with true favourite – Cancellara Wild Card is Wiggins – what will he do and when will he do it? Can he win a Classic? The only real hope for getting Cav to the finish would be to have other teams chasing GB and his opportunism plus good minder could get him up there. Item 7. In the Land of the Blind – The One Eyed Man is King Despite having the “Dream Team” Brailsford failed. He did not apologise to the nation for this failure of judgement, he said on the BBC he would do it again – as though there was no alternative. He has achieved much but he should take this as a warning – he will not get away with it next time. The flunkies on the BBC don’t yet understand cycling and they let him off the hook. They understand doping but they don’t understand the other even murkier commercial side of professional cycling. My favourite from the British team on that day, on that course, in that situation was Millar from a 10 man break. The problem with scenario was : a) his background story b) he does not ride for Sky Item 8. Professional Judgement There was another failure of judgement on the Tour when Sky reined in Froome when Wiggo looked very close to cracking. The race was won, the stage could have been won and glorious history made but the suits froze and battened down the hatches because the sudden glimpse frightened them. They hadn’t discussed it – no contingency plan for this. Froome didn’t help himself much by his theatrics either it must be said, less a signal to Wiggo more a signal to future sponsors. Item 9. The Mark of a Champion I was on the Box Hill circuit, I saw the troops following stupid orders to the point of exhaustion. When the Cancellara group made their move and our boys let them go or could not go with them it was obvious the game was up. That much talent up the road was never going to be seen again. It was obvious the group would split and sub-divide but the winner was in there for sure. At that point in the game all was virtually lost, a true champion would have gone to the front and helped his team and perhaps with blunted speed sprinted for the bronze and at least gone down fighting. This did not happen, instead we were offered the sight and sound of a sorrowful man moaning about the Germans and Aussies….a truly whinging Pom. The last group in a road race is called the laughing group for the trackies who might not know that. Well I know our boys weren’t laughing but I bet a lot of others were. There is nothing further that needs to be said. I am sure Cavendish will regret those words in the years to come. In the early years of British lone pros making their way in the peletons of Europe the English speakers automatically sought one another out and whether they became true friends or not they generally got on. I fear the legacy of Cav’s emotional outburst will import some of the cricketing animosities for the Aussies into the cycling world and we do not need that. Item 10. Psycho – Babble Britain has always produced great cyclists. World beating one-offs. What we have now with tracks, facilities, resources and money - is a production line. Let’s give credit for all the hard work to those that made it finally happen, but gentlemen please remember not to disappear up your own ar—h-l-s and save the intelligent noises for your after dinner engagements. Remember, to win a one day road race requires heart, lungs, and legs all no doubt measurable – but wisdom and experience are something else. That is the true beauty of road racing.