Jonathan Castroviejo's 2016 aspirations took a hit when he crashed heavily at the Volta ao Algarve in February, fracturing a vertebra and his ulna, on his way back to the team bus after the final stage. The 29-year-old didn't return to racing until June at the Tour de Suisse then narrowly missed out on defending his Spanish time trial title with Movistar teammate Ion Izagirre pipping him at the post.
Castroviejo rode himself into form and condition to earn a call up in Spain's squad for the Olympic Games with his focus on the time trial.
A blistering ride from Castroviejo on the Pontal course saw him assume the hot set with only the major favourites but within shot of a medal. Ultimately, Fabian Cancellara would prove, as he did in 2008, to be fastest man on the day and shatter Castroviejo's time by 1:06 minutes. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) then Christopher Froome (Great Britain) ,by just four seconds, came through better his time and drop Castroviejo out of medal contention.
"I cannot talk about bad luck because I have not made any mistakes," he said of his ride. "Maybe I didn't take some risks on the descents because I have still the memory of the crash [in Algarve] and the course was in a bad condition. But I have to be happy because I'm back at my level, recovered one hundred percent, but I was close to a medal."
While disappointed, Castroviejo added that considering his start to the season his result is one to be proud of.
After the year that I have had, I did no think that I would be at the Olympics. Being here makes me happy, because my goal was the top 5 and if I could be close to a medal, it was all the better. It is true that it makes you sad to be just four seconds away, almost the same as in Richmond, but there's no way to change it. That's sport," he added.
While Cancellara was the stand out rider, just 23 seconds separated second to fifth place to give Castroviejo confidence of pulling of a big result in the year's to come.
"It was very hard. We realized that five of us were close - or only four because Cancellara was gone. Everything was very tight and in the end it was not enough for the podium," he said. "What counts in cycling is consistency, being there, fighting for victories, for medals. I hope that I can do it someday."