The Olympic Games started off poorly for the British team on Saturday, with Geraint Thomas crashing on the technical descent before the finish of the men's road race. Chris Froome was unable to make the lead group, finishing 12th, one place behind Thomas. Despite his injuries, Thomas is seeking to start the time trial and hopes for better results on Wednesday.
"At the moment, we have just one spot in the time trial which Chris is riding, but we may get a second spot because quite a few countries aren't using their TT places," Thomas said. "Potentially I'm going to get a start in that so I'm delaying my holiday just in case."
Thomas said he is a bit sore after his crash, "but I feel a lot better after spin this morning. I've certainly had worse".
He was in the chase group with the winner of the men's road race - Greg Van Avermaet - behind a trio of riders who had escaped on the climb. When Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao crashed on the descent, it put paid to the chances of Rafal Majka (Poland) to stay away solo.
While Van Avermaet made it across with silver medalist Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Thomas was picking himself up off the road, disappointed. "Over six hours of racing and for me to crash on the last corner of the descent was more mentally hard to take rather than physical," he said. "I was there and ready to fight for the win. It was just a massive disappointment. That's bike racing and at least I was fortunate enough not to do any real damage."
The British team did everything right, but just lacked luck. "We were right in there. We rode just as we wanted to, as we'd said in the meeting the day before and it was all going to plan until 10km to go. That descent is super dodgy. It's twisty, and the road is really uneven and any little mistake you can pay the price.
"Obviously you're racing for the win and you've been on the bike for six hours in 30 plus degrees and everyone is fatigued and tired and that small mistake and you certainly pay the price."
That mistake came on a tight corner that Thomas said he went into too fast. "The back wheel skipped out on the small bumps and that's what threw me off my bike."
The course in Rio de Janeiro was one of the most difficult and technical courses in race history, and Thomas questioned the inclusion of the decent so close to the finish. "A lot of guys crashed and it's not normal for pro racing for everyone to be crashing on the same descent, especially one that you've done two times already. It shows just how technical and dangerous it was. I'm lucky that I didn't break anything. It still doesn't numb the pain of not being able to go for that win."
Looking ahead to the time trial, Thomas thinks Froome will have a much better chance than he did in the road race for a medal. "I think he's good. I think that the time trial suits him better than a one-day race like that. He's got good form coming out of the Tour de France, and I think it's all to play for. He's got a good chance of getting a medal but it's a tough one. It's forecast to rain, so that adds another element to it but he's certainly got a great chance."
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