This is seriously a stupid question but I thought to ask as I've been thinking about it more and more.
Obviously fitness matters so let's assume the rider is at the fitness level where they know pain, have been training a few years and understand the jist of cycling.
When you're about to get "dropped" in a race or you feel like you're at the edge of your limits and your mind/body is telling you to throttle it back and ease up, is it feasibly that this can be overcome by just pushing through it mentally or is your body physiologically cooling down. So as I you get dropped and lose that wheel, is it your mind calling it quits or is it your body internally doing so?
I wonder if it's just mental toughness that can keep you in a race for the win or if its just lack of training/genes/etc? I know lactic acid, vo2max, etc all matter but do you think a rider generally hits the limits or is the mind calling it quits early?