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2016 Olympics Cycling:
Men's Road Race

Rio de Janeiro: Saturday, August 6, 2016

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Olympic cycle competitions: historical results | 2016 Olympics cycling page | Olympic men's road race podium history | Race map and profile | Race photos | Start list with back numbers

Men's Olympic Road Race, Rio de Janeiro, 237.50 km

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Greg van Avermaet

Belgium's Greg van Avermaet wins the 2016 Olympics men's road race

Weather: 3:00 PM local time, 30C (86F), Mostly clear, some clouds, wind from the NNW at 8 km/hr (5mph). Visability 10 km.

The Race: The Olympics organizers billed this road race as the toughest im memory and it lived up to that promise.

Near the end, Rafal Majka was alone, off the front, while behind him several real contenders went down.

Vincenzo Nibali, Sergio Henao and Richie Porte (Nibali and Henao had been with Majka) crashed descending near the finish. Tour de France winner Chris Froome just did not have the suds today to be a contender.

For a while it looked as if Majka was going to win the race, but he was caught by Greg van Avermaet and Jakob Fuglsang and that was the race. Belgium's van Avermaet was clearly the day's strongest as he crossed the line first.

He is a deserving winner of the road race gold medal.

Here's how the UCI told the story of the day's racing:

Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) has claimed cycling’s first gold medal of the 2016 Olympic Games, outsprinting Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang and Poland’s Rafal Majka in the dramatic conclusion of one of the most unpredictable Olympic men’s road-races of the last few decades.

Using his well-honed Classics skills, the 31-year-old rocketed away from fellow breakaways Fuglsang and Majka in the finishing straight on Copacabana beach to net the gold by several bike lengths from the Dane. Whilst Majka, visibly exhausted, nonetheless took the bronze, France’s Julian Alaphilippe then brought in the first chase group and netted fourth after a tenacious, lengthy pursuit of the leading trio, with Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez just outsprinted by Alaphilippe for fifth.

For Van Avermaet, gold in Rio continues a brilliant summer in which the Belgian has already won a stage of the Tour de France, led the race and wore the maillot jaune for three days.Earlier this year, Van Avermaet also took the overall victory in Tirreno-Adriatico and the opening season Belgian Classic of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Nothing, though, can compare to winning an Olympic gold.

The Belgian’s victory in Rio, though, only came at the end of a tumultuous, hugely fluid race which only began to be decided in the final 40 kilometres. At this point, the last survivor of the early break of the day, former World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) was caught by a strong six rider counter-attack, including Van Avermaet, Sergio Henao (Colombia) and Damiano Caruso (Italy).

On the second last descent of the Canoas-Vista Chinesa loop, Italy considerably strengthened their numbers in the front move as Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali both bridged across to Caruso and the rest. Further reinforcements included Majka, Fuglsang, and Adam Yates (Great Britain), bringing the leading break up to an 11-man group. With three riders, the Italians, though, were the most strongly represented and they promptly moved Caruso to the front.

Having almost singlehandedly established a 30 second gap as the leading group of 11 hit the foot of the Canoas-Vista Chinesa loop for the last time, Caruso, his job done, dropped back. But although Aru seemed to waver on the relentlessly rising climb, his compatriot Nibali was in his element and three kilometres from the summit of the Vista Chinesa, the Italian roared out of the breakaway. Only Henao and Majka were strong enough to follow.

The leading three stormed over the summit of the Vista Chinesa with a gap of around 15 seconds, with Nibali providing much of the traction. However, just as it seemed that the fate of the three medals on offer - although not their order - had been decided, both Nibali and Henao crashed badly on the twisting descent, wrecking their race and medal chances.

Others that fell on the same downhill segment including Richie Porte (Australia) and Portugal’s Nelson Oliveira in the previous lap and Geraint Thomas (GBR). Suddenly, the battle for the first medals on offer in Rio was wide open again.
Majka, having missed the crash that poleaxed Nibali and Henao, ploughed onwards alone as the road flattened out with a 20 second advantage on a group of seven chasers. At this point, with just six kilometres of flat left, it looked as though the Tour de France’s double King of the Mountains winner was now safely en route for gold.

Instead, in yet another twist to this wholly unpredictable race, a sudden counter-attack by Fuglsang, followed by Van Avermaet managed, at the last moment and on flat terrain, to bridge across to an increasingly exhausted Majka. With two kilometres to go, once again the Olympic road-race could go any one of three ways again - Majka, Fuglsang or Van Avermaet.

As the only real Classics specialist of the three ahead, Van Avermaet had the cards in his favour, although at the end of a six-hour, 237.5 kilometre race, nothing is ever certain. As it turned out, his well-timed final acceleration netted the Belgian the seventh cycling gold medal in his country’s history.

“I said before the race, that everything would have to work out perfectly for a medal to come my way,” Van Avermaet said. “I made it through, but there were some crashes because riders took risks on the descents.”

“You needed to have the legs to be there, either way, and I wasn’t so far off the three leaders [Nibali, Henao, Majka] at the top of the final climb. I kept at it, and then the situation worked out perfectly. I could never have dreamed of winning here. But it’s happened!”

Post race note: Several riders were seriously injured in crashes. Among them, Italy's Vincenzo Nibali suffered a double fracture of his collarbone and Sergio Henao fractured both his pelvis and iliac crest. Richie Porte fractured his scapula.

Complete Results:

237.5 kilometers raced at an average speed of 37.992 km/hr

Men's road race photos

1 Van Avermaet, Greg Belgium 6hr 10min 5sec
2 Fuglsang, Jakob Denmark s.t.
3 Majka, Rafał Poland @ 5sec
4 Alaphilippe, Julian France + 00' 22''
5 Rodríguez, Joaquim Spain s.t.
6 Aru, Fabio Italy s.t.
7 Meintjes, Louis South Africa s.t.
8 Zeits, Andrey Kazakhstan + 00' 25''
9 Kangert, Tanel Estonia + 01' 47''
10 Faria da Costa, Rui Portugal + 02' 29''
11 Thomas, Geraint Great Britain s.t.
12 Froome, Chris Great Britain + 02' 58''
13 Martin, Daniel Ireland s.t.
14 Buchmann, Emanuel Germany s.t.
15 Yates, Adam Great Britain + 03' 03''
16 Bookwalter, Brent United States + 03' 31''
17 Mollema, Bauke Netherlands s.t.
18 Đurasek, Kristijan Croatia s.t.
19 Reichenbach, Sébastien Switzerland s.t.
20 Schleck, Fränk Luxembourg s.t.
21 Chaves, Esteban Colombia + 03' 34''
22 Pauwels, Serge Belgium + 06' 12''
23 Vuillermoz, Alexis France s.t.
24 Bardet, Romain France s.t.
25 Clarke, Simon Australia s.t.
26 Roglič, Primož Slovenia + 09' 38''
27 Arashiro, Yukiya Japan s.t.
28 Impey, Daryl South Africa s.t.
29 Roche, Nicholas Ireland s.t.
30 Valverde, Alejandro Spain s.t.
31 Chernetski, Sergei Russia s.t.
32 Juul-Jensen, Christopher Denmark s.t.
33 Bennett, George New Zealand + 11' 49''
34 Cancellara, Fabian Switzerland s.t.
35 Navardauskas, Ramunas Lithuania + 12' 18''
36 Cardoso, André Portugal s.t.
37 Sepúlveda, Eduardo Argentina s.t.
38 Kochetkov, Pavel Russia s.t.
39 Kruijswijk, Steven Netherlands s.t.
40 Caruso, Damiano Italy s.t.
41 Grivko, Andrei Ukraine + 13' 18''
42 Gilbert, Philippe Belgium s.t.
43 Teklehaimanot, Daniel Eritrea + 19' 20''
44 Preidler, Georg Austria + 19' 37''
45 Tybor, Patrik Slovakia + 20' 00''
46 Saramotins, Aleksejs Latvia s.t.
47 Ait El Abdia, Anass Morocco s.t.
48 Nordhaug, Lars Petter Norway s.t.
49 Siutsou, Kanstantsin Belarus s.t.
50 Laengen, Vegard Norway s.t.
51 Tamouridis, Ioannis Greece s.t.
52 Polanc, Jan Slovenia s.t.
53 Mendes, José Portugal s.t.
54 Amador, Andrey Costa Rica s.t.
55 Woods, Michael Canada s.t.
56 Gołaś, Michał Poland s.t.
57 Špilak, Simon Slovenia s.t.
58 Vakoc, Petr Czech Republic s.t.
59 Skujiņš, Toms Latvia s.t.
60 Sørensen, Chris Anker Denmark s.t.
61 Kozhatayev, Bakhtiyar Kazakhstan s.t.
62 Kwiatkowski, Michał Poland s.t.
63 De Marchi, Alessandro Italy + 20' 05''

Olympic men's road race map and profile:

Olympic Men's Road Race map


Photos of the men's road race by Fotoreporter Sirotti:

Panorama

Looks like a nice day for a bike race

Break

A break motors down the road

Peloton

Being kept on a reasonably short leash by the peloton

Peloton

Looks like Danes and Kazakhs near the front

The sprint

Greg Van Avermaet heads for the line with Jakob Fuglsang unable to do anything about it.

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet wins the race.

van Avermaet

And has earned the right to celebrate

Rafal Majka

For a while it looked like Rafal Majka might win the race, but he came in third.

Greg van avermaet

Van Avermaet is quickly surrounded

Jakob Fuglsang

Second-place Fuglsang

Greg van Avermaet

Van Avermaet with his booty

olympic podium

The podium, from left: Jakob Fuglsang (2nd), Greg Van Avermaet and Rafal Majka (3rd)


Start list with backnumbers, August 5, 2016:

KAZAKHSTAN
1 KOZHATAYEV Bakhtiyar
2 ZEITS Andrey
SPAIN
3 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan
4 ERVITI Imanol
5 IZAGUIRRE Jon
6 RODRIGUEZ Joaquin
7 VALVERDE Alejandro
COLOMBIA
8 CHAVES Johan Esteban
9 HENAO Sergio
10 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel
11 PANTANO Jarlinson
12 URAN Rigoberto
FRANCE
13 ALAPHILIPPE Julian
14 BARDET Romain
15 BARGUIL Warren
16 VUILLERMOZ Alexis
GREAT BRITAIN
17 CUMMINGS Stephen
18 FROOME Christopher
19 STANNARD Ian
20 THOMAS Geraint
21 YATES Adam
AUSTRALIA
22 CLARKE Simon
23 DENNIS Rohan
24 BOWDEN Scott
25 PORTE Richie
BELGIUM
26 DE PLUS Laurens
27 GILBERT Philippe
28 PAUWELS Serge
29 VAN AVERMAET Greg
30 WELLENS Tim
NETHERLANDS
31 DUMOULIN Tom
32 KRUIJSWIJK Steven
33 MOLLEMA Bauke
34 POELS Wouter
ITALY
35 ARU Fabio
36 CARUSO Damiano
37 DE MARCHI Alessandro
38 NIBALI Vincenzo
39 ROSA Diego
SLOVAKIA
40 TYBOR Patrik
SWITZERLAND
41 ALBASINI Michael
42 CANCELLARA Fabian
43 MORABITO Steve
44 REICHENBACH Sébastien
IRELAND
47 MARTIN Daniel
48 ROCHE Nicholas
GERMANY
49 BUCHMANN Emanuel
50 GESCHKE Simon
51 LEVY Maximilian
52 MARTIN Tony
NORWAY
53 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald
54 BYSTROM Sven Erik
55 LAENGEN Vegard Stake
56 NORDHAUG Lars Petter
POLAND
57 BODNAR Maciej
58 GOLAS Michal
59 KWIATKOWSKI Michal
60 MAJKA Rafal
DENMARK
61 FUGLSANG Jakob
62 JUUL JENSEN Christopher
63 SØRENSEN Chris Anker
CZECH REPUBLIC
64 BARTA Jan
65 KONIG Leopold
66 STYBAR Zdenek
67 VAKOC Petr
UKRAINE
68 GRIVKO Andriy
69 KOSTYUK Denys
70 KHRIPTA Andriy
SLOVENIA
71 MOHORIC Matej
72 POLANC Jan
73 ROGLIC Primoz
74 SPILAK Simon
ERITREA
75 TEKLEHAYMANOT Daniel
IRAN
76 MIZBANI ERANAGH Ghader
77 MOAZEMI GOUDARZI Arvin
78 POURSEYEDI GOLAKHOUR Mirsamad
PORTUGAL
79 CARDOSO Andre Fernando S. Martins
80 FARIA DA COSTA Rui Alberto
81 PIMENTA COSTA José Joao
82 SANTOS SIMOES Nelson Filipe
ALGERIA
83 MANSOURI Abderrahmane
84 REGUIGUI Youcef
AUSTRIA
85 DENIFL Stefan
86 PREIDLER Georg
MOROCCO
87 AIT EL ABDIA Anasse
88 HADDI Soufiane
89 LAHSAINI Mouhssine
UNITED STATES
90 BOOKWALTER Brent
91 PHINNEY Taylor
ESTONIA
92 KANGERT Tanel
93 TAARAMAE Rein
LITHUANIA
94 KONOVALOVAS Ignatas
95 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas
NEW ZEALAND
96 BENNETT George
97 WILLIAMS Zac
CANADA
98 DUCHESNE Antoine
99 HOULE Hugo
100 WOODS Michael
BELARUS
101 KIRYIENKA Vasil
102 SIUTSOU Kanstantsin
JAPAN
103 ARASHIRO Yukiya
104 UCHIMA Kohei
KOREA
105 KIM Ok Cheol
106 SEO Joon Yong
VENEZUELA
107 MONSALVE Jonathan
108 UBETO APONTE Miguel
CROATIA
109 DURASEK Kristijan
110 KVASINA Matija
LUXEMBOURG
111 SCHLECK Frank
ARGENTINA
112 DIAZ Daniel
113 RICHEZE Ariel Maximiliano
114 SEPULVEDA Eduardo
SOUTH AFRICA
115 IMPEY Daryl
116 MEINTJES Louis
LATVIA
117 SARAMOTINS Aleksejs
118 SKUJINS Toms
HONG KONG
119 CHEUNG King Lok
CHILE
120 RODRIGUEZ Jose Luis
RWANDA
121 NIYONSHUTI Adrien
AZERBAIJAN
122 AVERIN Maxim
ROMANIA
123 TVETCOV Serghei
MEXICO
124 LEMUS Luis Enrique
TURKEY
125 BALKAN Onur
126 ORKEN Ahmet
COSTA RICA
127 AMADOR Andrey
BRASIL
128 DA SILVA Kleber
129 FISCHER Murilo Antonio
GREECE
130 TAMOURIDIS Ioannis
TUNISIA
131 NOUISRI Ali
BULGARIA
132 KOYCHEV HRISTOV Stefan
GUATEMALA
133 RODAS OCHOA Manuel
ECUADOR
134 GUAMA DE LA CRUZ Byron
SERBIA
135 STEVIC Ivan
ETHIOPIA
136 GRMAY Tsgabu Gebremaryam
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
137 MILAN JIMENEZ Diego
NAMIBIA
138 CRAVEN Dan
BOLIVIA
139 SOLIZ VILCA Oscar
KOSOVO
140 GURI Qendrim
PUERTO RICO
141 BABILONIA Brian
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
142 MIRZA BANIHAMMAD Yousef
LAOS
143 DESTRIBOIS PHOUNSAVATH Alex Ariya
RUSSIA
45 CHERNETSKY Sergey
46 KOCHETKOV Pavel
144 KURBATOV Alexey