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GB gloom after road race

Alexander Vinokourov took gold in the first major cycling event of the Olympic Games, the road race. The veteran from Kazakhstan had won a silver 12 years previously at Sydney, and said the gold medal was the perfect way to finish his cycling career.

It was a frustrating race for the British team. A great deal of planning and preparation had gone into delivering world Mark Cavendish to the finish in the Mall, where his sprinting speed would make him favourite.

The plan began to falter once a breakaway group built up a steady lead over the main group of riders. The British riders kept in tight formation, working hard for Cavendish, but were given no support from other nations. In the end the effort of leading the peloton unaided told on the British riders and they were unable to close the gap.

Cavendish left Beijing in 2008 as the only British rider without a medal, and was again disappointed. After Chris Froome dropped out, Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins, David Millar and Ian Stannard found the workload too strenuous. Wiggins has hopes of a medal in the time trial but gave his all for the team.

Vinokourov has a history of using banned stimulants in the past so wasn’t the winner that the London Olympics organisers might have hoped for in one of the Games’ mass spectator events. The British team will not point the finger though, as one of their own team, Millar, also has a history of doping.

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