During a classics bike race, you get "I just didn't have the legs today."
You can argue that some people train for these races similarly as their A race. But in triathlon, you get someone like CA go top 5 four years in a row. Cycling clearly has more variables, but when you have a group of favorites in the front slugging it out attacking each other, it becomes more like a Macca-Raelert duel.
So what's with the "I didn't have the legs today" line? If you're training for a race in both scenarios, and nothing unlucky happens, why do you get the differing responses depending on the sport? Do cyclists just not want to admit someone is better than they are?