FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - All eight British riders in the world championship road race abandoned on Sunday, capitulating meekly midway through the battle and prompting coach Rod Ellingworth to hit out at their attitude.
Tour de France champion Chris Froome pulled out with six 16.6-km laps remaining, following Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish on the way to the team bus.
"Tough race out there, really dangerous once we reached the circuit, the rain has been relentless," said Froome.
Ellingworth was critical of his team.
"We should be very disappointed," he said.
"The lads' attitude wasn't where it needs to be, to be honest. I'm not sure they really took this on thinking it was going to be as hard as it actually was.
"Chris said he struggled with the cold and the rain, but it is the same for everybody. That's what makes the worlds what it is."
Froome, who did not seem to be at his best going into the race, was not ready to continue the effort almost alone after being isolated in the peloton.
"(It was hard) mentally more than anything else. It meant that I had to fight for my position on my own and there was a long way to go," he said.
Geraint Thomas was the last British rider to pull out when he climbed off his bike towards the end of the fifth lap.
Only 61 riders from the 208 on the start list made it to the finish of the 272.3-km, rain-hit race, but Britain were the only major nation with no representative at the finish.
"All of them sat on the bus with 100km to go is very disappointing. Luke (Rowe) and Cav (Mark Cavendish) were average, the other guys were well below average," said Ellingworth.
"I'm sure Brad will be disappointed with his performance. It is not as if he didn't have the form. He had the same problem as he had in the Giro: he couldn't get down the hill, went out the back and was gone."
Former world champion Cadel Evans of Australia crashed out and was sent to hospital for checks.
The American team also suffered with Taylor Phinney, Chris Horner and Tejay van Garderen pulling out.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond