Ina Teutenberg (Germany) won the bunch sprint for fourth place in the women's Olympic road race on Sunday after a brave but ultimately futile chase of the winning break.
The experienced German team was ever-present in the 140-kilometre event until its riders missed out on the vital final break that included Marianne Vos (Netherlands), Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) and Shelley Olds (United States of America). While the four ploughed ahead to the finish, the German team was forced to chase, and even when Olds dropped out from the lead group, which ultimately led to her compatriots joining the chase, the leading trio weren't seen again.
"We missed the break and that was a big mistake, that neither Trixi Worrack, Judith Arndt nor Charlotte Becker was in there. Not that we would have worked in the break but probably we could have destroyed it," Teutenberg told Cyclingnews.
"They did everything afterwards to bring back the break, but the three up front were so strong, and we didn't ride slowly. We couldn't get them but the girls did everything to try and deliver me to the finish, but we were just missing a couple of seconds there."
The German and American teams were joined by further allies when Sweden and Italy also began to commit to the chase and despite holding the gap through most of the run in to London, the deficit never fell below 20 seconds.
"When I saw the US coming back, I thought we had a chance because there were three really strong time trialists on the front but they didn't have the total legs at the end, Evelyn [Stevens] was up there with Judith [Arndt] a lot and there were teams working with Sweden putting Emilia [Fahlin] on the front, but we just weren't good enough."
At 37, it's unclear whether Teutenberg will compete in Rio in four years time but the German sprinter accepted the result with grace.
"I'm happy. I was ready for the race. I didn't get dropped, I think we had good form, and it would have been nice to go home with a medal but that's bike racing, and I'll look forward."
Teutenberg also took time to praise the crowds that lined the roads for the women's race. Although down on yesterday's numbers for the men's event, huge crowds braved the weather to descend on Box Hill.
"It was brilliant out there. The spectators were unbelievable and we've never had anything like that in a women's race before, and we probably never will again. Even with the rain they were out there and cheering."
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