The heat, humidity and pollution did in the German team in Beijing, but their failure to make the podium may more likely rest on the fact that they just didn't have a good day. Fabian Wegmann was the only one of the four German starters to make it to the finish. He came in 21st.
"I am simply disappointed," said Jens Voigt, who dropped out in the next-to-last circuit after spending much of the day in the leading group. "We weren't strong enough on the climb. Of course, I would have liked to have ridden two fewer laps, but everyone had the same conditions. We shouldn't look for excuses," he told Sid.
Bert Grabsch was also in the lead group with Voigt, and dropped out when the group was caught with 100 km to go. "I didn't feel strong enough to have a say in the final outcome, and wanted to have enough strength left over for the time trial. I am satisfied with my performance," he wrote on his website, bertgrabsch.de. Despite the overwhelming heat and humidity of over 90 percent, he still enjoyed the experience, "especially riding through Beijing, where there were so many frenetic fans."
The first to leave the race was sprinter Gerald Ciolek. "I had a bad day, it felt like altitude training," the 21 year-old told the dpa.
Stefan Schumacher had been the team's hope for a medal, but he only made it for five laps. "At first I had good legs, but in the fourth lap I got a headache," he said. "It disappeared, but when it came back, it was unbearable." Looking back, he said, "The whole race was torture. The pressing heat, and then the smog. That just did me in."
"It was the expected heat battle," said Directeur Sportif Hans-Michael Holczer. "I had feared this. Schumi had problems with the heat all week." (SW)