Stefan Schumacher, fresh from his success in the two Tour de France time trials, was expecting to repeat his dominance in the Olympic time trial on Wednesday. But the gold medal went instead to Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, and the German finished only 13th, much to his disappointment. However, he has not given up his hopes for an Olympic medal and has already set his sights on 2012.
The Olympics are a great event, it's just that the cycling races weren't so good," he told the sid news agency. "But I will come back. Someday I want to get a medal. I am still young and can possibly ride it again twice. And the climate is different in London."
The weather was what did the Gerolsteiner rider in. He does not like hot, humid weather, and those were exactly the predominant conditions in Beijing. "I couldn't cope with the climate," he said. "I couldn't hold my tempo. It was frustrating."
Adding to his frustration was being passed by Cancellara, who started two minutes behind him. "That is a strange feeling. But it was clear that he would pass me when I couldn't hold my tempo."
Nor was he the only German who was unsuccessful. The team had hoped for medals from both the women and men, but will come home empty handed. "We did something wrong," said Schumacher. "I can't explain it. We have to now sit down and analyse things. After the Tour I focused everything on the Olympics. That makes it more irritating that nothing came of it."
Looking to the immediate future, the 27 year-old noted that he did not plan to ride the Deutschland Tour. "Actually I wanted to ride the Vuelta as preparation for the Worlds." As to the more distant future, he will probably have to look for a new team, as Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer has said that he is losing hope of finding a new sponsor to take over the squad next season.