Following a promising start to the men's Olympic Games cross-country race, Peter Sagan was struck down by a front-wheel puncture, deflating his aspirations for medal. Pre-race favourite Nino Schurter won his first career gold medal in a dominant showing with London 2012 gold medallist Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) in the silver medal position.
"In the start I felt great and was in the top three. But then I had a puncture and I had to go for half a lap before I could get a wheel change. Then it was impossible to make contact with the first guys," Sagan said according to Reuters.
Sagan moved his way through the field on the first lap to join the front group by the conclusion of the first circuit. Disaster struck for the 26-year-old when he then flatted at the start of the second lap to end his dream of winning a medal.
With riders only able to receive assistance for mechanicals in the pit area, Sagan was forced to push and carry his bike for the majority of the second lap before changing his front wheel and remounting for the remainder of the race.
A second puncture then ended any hopes of making back into the front group. The Slovakian would eventually finish in 35th place, one lap down on Schurter and the podium finishes.
"I also had a puncture on the third or fourth lap, only a small one, but my wheel felt like chewing gum, he added. "Two punctures were very bad for my mentality. I did everything, but it was impossible to get in the top 10. I felt I could make the top 10."
Sagan added that he had no regrets in racing the event as he turns his attention to defending his road rainbow jersey at the Doha Worlds in October.
"After seven years, I am back on the mountain bike, and I was happy to try,"