Great Britain's Mark Cavendish expressed frustration that rival teams were content so long as he did not win the London 2012 Olympic Games road race.
The 27-year-old world champion from the Isle of Man finished 29th, 40 seconds behind, as controversial Kazakh Alexandr Vinokourov triumphed on The Mall, with Colombia's Rigoberto Uran second and Norway's Alexander Kristoff third.
Cavendish told BBC1: "It seems like most teams are happy not to win as long as we don't win.
"It's the story of our lives in cycling. "It shows what a strong nation we are. We've got to take the positives from that and take it as a compliment."
Cavendish, a winner of 23 Tour de France stages, was among the favourites for the 250-kilometre event, which included nine ascents of Surrey's Box Hill. He had described Britain's five-man squad as the "dream team", featuring Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, David Millar and Ian Stannard.
All four had ridden in support of Cavendish when he won the World Championships road race in Copenhagen last September, but this task was tougher, according to Millar and Wiggins.
And despite phenomenal support from his four British team-mates a late breakaway stayed clear and Vinokourov, who served a two-year ban until 2009 for blood doping, won the sprint for the line.
Cavendish was unhappy the likes of Australia and Germany, who had sprinters in their teams, were reluctant to pursue the breakaway.
He added: "It's bitterly disappointing. There's 70 guys in our group at the finish, I don't understand why there's (only) three guys riding. It doesn't make sense.
"No-one wants to help us. The Australians sit there. They always just ride negatively... they're happy to see us lose."