In his first Olympic time trial, Brent finished 23rd on Wednesday, 5:42 after winner Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland. His race against the clock in Rio got off to a rough start when he crashed on a turn only 300 meters into the 54.6-kilometer race. Here are his comments after meeting the media and even taking a turn at some TV announcing of the event for NBC Sports.
How are you feeling after going down?
As far as anything serious, I am just sore again. I hit my right side pretty hard, which is the same side that has healed up from my crash in the first stage of the Tour de France. I hurt my right hip, right ribs, have a little scuff on my chin, and hit my right knee. It wasn’t a super hard impact because the ground was relatively wet and the speed was relatively low. All things considered, physically, I am OK.
What went through your mind as you were going down?
I couldn’t believe it. Yesterday, I rode that corner and gave it some good attention. I got a debrief from the women after they went through it this morning and I visualized it well. I felt my speed was good and I didn’t have the bike too leaned over. It was one of those crazy instances of where the front wheel just went away. We see it in cycling from time to time. I didn’t know what happened. It took me off guard and surprised me. It was extremely disappointing to have all the momentum going into the Olympic time trial and then go down like that. I just tried to get back on it the best I could. Any other time trial, I would have been extremely unmotivated and may have just pulled off and said ‘enough is enough.’ But I can’t image I am going to get many more Olympic time trials again in my life. Despite the less-than-ideal start, I still wanted to deliver the best ride that I could in the condition that I was in. So I tried to put it together with the best I could after the less-than-ideal start.
How about the conditions on the course? The rain seemed to affect earlier starters like yourself.
From what I could see on TV, the weather improved throughout the day. The women had the worst of it this morning. Leading into the firs wave of the men, we had quite a bit of rain coming down. Into the second lap of my race, we were were starting to see some dry spots. But it was still pretty decisive for me. One dry spot would lead into a wet, slick spot. After my first crash, I was pretty cautious through the corners. From what I could see, it got a little drier for the final guys. That’s time trials, though, as we all know it. It is the luck of the draw with the start positions and the rankings, too, factoring in.
When you look back on your performance, how do you feel about it?
It is a little hard to take. I am still disappointed on how it went. At the same time, I am proud of myself for perservering the best I could and pushing on. I was trying to get the most out of myself for our team here, my country and everyone else who tried to get me here. I felt like my realistic goal was to be in the top 10. It is the Olympics and the dream goal is to be on the podium. But I felt it was very realistic on this course to be in the top 10. Looking back on the time gaps and who was there, without the incident I had of hitting the ground and damaging my bike – it wasn’t working after that … I was missing a lot of gears – without that, I would have realistically been in that good top 10 position. We saw a lot of bad luck, or less-than-ideal situations out there again with some of the women crashing and some mechanicals that factored into the men’s top results. So I am trying to be philosophical about it and still grateful and thankful for the opportunity. I think after time goes on, I will look back on this experience fondly and be happy to have been an Olympian.