Tyler Farrar (United States of America) admitted that he misfired in the sprint finish at the UCI Road World Championships, in which he finished 10th. However, he explained that he was pleased to have played a part in the race after such a difficult build up that was hindered by injury.
The American sprinter crashed out of the Vuelta a Espana in August and suffered a number of injuries. The most serious involved his lungs and he was left coughing up blood for over a week. After a few days off the bike, he began to train again and built up for the championships with a series of punishing motor pacing sessions, aimed at replicating race conditions.
On the eve of the race, Farrar told Cyclingnews that he was riding into the unknown but that he would not be making the short trip over from his base in Belgium just to ride around Copenhagen.
Coming into the final straight, Farrar looked on course for a clash with the best sprinters. However, a slight mistake saw him drift to the wrong side of the road. Boxed in, he was forced to slow his speed before pushing on the pedals again.
"It was a great race, and I had really good legs. I just screwed up the sprint," he told Cyclingnews.
"It was hard and my legs were good. I was just trying to hide all day and conserve energy as much as possible. I had a pretty decent position coming out the last turn, but I made the wrong decision and ended up getting a little bit boxed in the sprint."
"I just ended up on the wrong side and then in the middle. That's bike racing."
Farrar praised the efforts of his team, who worked diligently to keep him out of trouble. Along with Germany and Great Britain, the US was the only team to concentrate on a sprint finish. Ben King, despite running wide on one corner, was a constant presence on the front in the first half of the race, while Taylor Phinney shepherded Farrar in the second half.
In the end though, Farrar was left to fend for himself.
"I was on my own. The guys did everything they could to help me but we didn't really have a guy to do the last kilometre," he told Cyclingnews.
"I didn't even know if I was going to be able to make it through this race but it's still frustrating to have put in all that work and then screw it up. That's bike racing sometimes."
The Worlds brings the curtain down on Farrar's season, the highlight of which was two stages in the Tour de France - one in the team time trial.
But Farrar told Cyclingnews that he was looking forward to a break from racing. Although he won seven races, he has gone through a number of difficult moments, no more so than at the Giro d'Italia this year, when his friend Wouter Weylandt died in a crash. Farrar abandoned the race two days later.
"I've had some good moments. Obviously it's not been a failure but it's been a pretty horrible year for me with what happened at the Giro and then crashing out of the Vuelta. It's been a year of ups and downs, and I'm happy it's over. I'll rest and rebuild and look to next year."