Coryn Rivera (United States) came up short in the women's road race at the World Championships on Saturday but insisted she had given it everything she could on a demanding course. The American came home in 18th place after Chantal Blaak (Netherlands) took a stunning solo win ahead of Katrin Garfoot (Australia) and last year's winner Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark).
The US team never really gained a solid footing in the race. In the early laps, they could be seen chasing moves but their race took a major hit when Megan Guarnier crashed out with just over 51km remaining. The incident robbed them of one of their most experienced and accomplished riders. From that point on, the team were entirely focused on Rivera's chances in a bunch sprint, but when the Dutch and the rest of the heavy hitters blasted away on the final ascent of Salmon Hill, the team in stars and stripes had no response.
Rivera tried to rally by creating a small chase group but they were reeled in before the finish. A medal of silver or bronze was still available inside the closing kilometre but having burned her last reserves on the final lap climbs, Rivera was running on fumes.
"Races like these really come down to luck and teamwork and it was just a shame that we lost Megan in a crash because she was our key player when the moves went. I really had to gamble after she went out," Rivera told Cyclingnews after the finish.
"Lauren [Stephens] did a great job and Ruth [Winder] did a great job, too, trying to control what we could because we'd lost our key player when it came to making it across on those climbs. That made it difficult but had to make the best of it.
"There was a small group that went after the main group on Salmon Hill and I was in that. There was only me and Linda [Villumsen] riding and it was really hard to get things going. I wasn't sure how far the group behind was and I think that I blew a pretty big match and the peloton ended up catching us because we were playing around too much. We caught the break with around 500 to go but I was blown by that point. I just rolled through. I was disappointed."
Despite missing out in Bergen, Rivera has had a hugely successful season on the WorldTour circuit. Sometimes a rider simply has to acknowledge when they're beaten, and against a Dutch demolition Rivera wasn't the only rider to finish empty-handed in the road race.
Of course, Rivera leaves Bergen with the consolation of winning a gold in the team time trial, but there was no hiding her disappointment on Saturday.
"All the pieces of the puzzle need to be there and when you miss something it's one per cent that you have to make up yourself. The Dutch won today and they backed it up. Our team backed me up and we tried to control all that we could, but it wasn't to be," she said before riding away to her team bus.