Britain suffered a disastrous day at the world championships here yesterday as all eight of their team, including Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, failed to finish a gruelling road race leaving the team’s coach to question their spirit.
British interest in the race ended 80km from the end after Froome’s bid to achieve a rare Tour de France and world championships double was left in tatters as heavy and prolonged rain caused chaos. “They are all disappointed and they need to be,” said Rod Ellingworth, a key figure in Britain’s remarkable cycling success in recent years. Asked if he believed the team lacked spirit, Ellingworth added: “Yes. I think it may be that simple. A lot of people were talking the talk beforehand and didn’t see it through. No excuses, each and every one of them underperformed today. They will look at themselves in the mirror tonight and think they didn’t do a very good job.”
Wiggins once again struggled to handle wet conditions, an issue that had dogged him in the Giro d’Italia earlier in the year. “From what I could see, he just couldn’t go downhill again, same as in the Giro,” said Ellingworth. “I am sure he is walking around with his head down because no one wants to perform like that.”
Froome, who this year followed Wiggins into the Tour de France’s yellow jersey, was not excused from criticism either. Ellingworth said: “It’s something for Chris to look at. Chris wasn’t good in this weather today and he knows that as well.” Britain’s miserable day was heightened by the news that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, winner of last year’s Tour of Britain, is the subject of a doping investigation by cycling’s governing body, the UCI.