Mark Cavendish and Pete Kennaugh sportingly accepted defeat to Australia's Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson at the Six Day London, with Cavendish describing Meyer as "the best track rider on the planet and the best track rider of our generation."
Cavendish will now head to Japan to ride the ASO Tour de France Saitama criterium on Saturday, November 4.
Cavendish and Kennaugh ended Sunday's sixth day of racing 94 more points ahead but a lap down on the Australian pair, while Belgians Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw were just 38 points down on the Manxmen and completed the final podium.
"We've got to be happy with that [second place]. We really didn't expect to be on the podium," Cavendish said, considering that Kennaugh was riding a Six Day event for the first time in his career.
"We went for two laps really early on but we got chased. Then I took a really long lap and it killed me by half way. But we had to keep going and going. On another day we could be chased down, go out the back and lose a lap."
Cavendish explained that he and Kennaugh saved their strength for one final attack. They opened a 100-metre lead as the laps counted down but Meyer and Scotson were able to do enough to stop them catching the tail of the group and pulling back that decisive lap.
"We let them go for the sprints and tried to hit them one time," Cavendish explained.
"I said to Pete as soon as the lap board came down, let's put all our chips in the centre after 20 laps and go for broke. We tried to get it back and kept getting it back but every time we went they just had us. We just weren't good enough, simple as, but I'm incredibly proud because I used to babysit for this lad [Kennaugh, who is four years younger than his fellow Manxman]. We're riding at the London Olympic velodrome and he won here in 2012, we're riding against the best track riders in the world. It's just been amazing."
Kennaugh is an accomplished road rider, and as Cavendish pointed out he won gold in the team pursuit on the track at the 2012 London Olympics. However, he admitted he suffered with the daily high-speed racing after only limited track training in recent weeks. Kennaugh will ride for Bora-Hansgrohe in 2018 after eight seasons with Team Sky.
"If I look back to the first day, I was so nervous sat in the cabin and hardly even saying a word," Kennaugh admitted. "I was shaking with nerves and they were a really tough two days, but I've finally got my track legs back these last two days. I really started to enjoy it, but that last chase was something else. I was on the limit, just holding the wheel, and I looked up and there were 50 minutes to go. But what a great event, what a great race and what great competition."
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