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Olympic Games 2016: Olympic Men's Road Race

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The Olympic Games were declared open last night and the cycling events are already underway with the men's road race first up in around 40 minutes. The full start list can be found here

The Rio road race has been touted at the most challenging in Olympic history. There is no doubt that it's going to be an arduous day out there, with heat and humidity to contend with out there as well as the climbing. We can expect the race to be really broken up with only a small group, if a group at all, making it to the finish. 

This is what the riders can expect to face, including a few cobbles.

 

 

Checking for bike motors before sign on in #RioOlympics2016 https://t.co/yEfq3NrJ8A

@reecehomfray Sat, 6th Aug 2016 11:53:16

At the London Games, there was lots of issues with timing. The organisers cited excessive use of twitter out on course. We're hoping we have some better luck today but the stopwatch is at the ready just in case. 30-minute call for the start!

 

The Olympic road race is unlike any other bike race throughout the season. With no more than five riders per team, it is very difficult to control and almost anything can happen. There are a long list of potential contenders, including Spain's Alejandro Valverde, Tour de France champion Chris Froome, and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali. We tried to condense the list of contenders into 10 and you can see who we picked right here

 

Well, this is nice... https://t.co/7bw5B9CKOo

@mattmcgeehan Sat, 6th Aug 2016 12:09:34

Russian cyclist Alexey Kurbatov was a late edition to the road race start list yesterday. He has taken Ilnur Zakarin's place. Zakarin was cleared to race, along with many more Russian athletes, but the call came too late for him to travel. Read the full story here

 

Froome and Stannard make final checks. Racing starts at 1.30pm. https://t.co/zBUFQjvxBj #Rio2016 #CyclingRoad https://t.co/mHn9oqex4b

@BritishCycling Sat, 6th Aug 2016 12:11:34

The Olympics are always a chance to spot some interesting kit designs. There have been plenty good and bad for Rio 2016, but perhaps the best is Denmark's retro-look kit design sported here by Jakob Fuglsang. 

 

 

 

 

We're just minutes away from the start of the race and most of the riders are already lined-up on the beachfront.

 

Let us know who you think the medallists will be today by tweeting us on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS

 

UCI president Brian Cookson drops the flag to start the race and they're off. 

 

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin is near the front of the bunch. He has made the start despite breaking his wrist at the Tour de France only a couple of weeks ago. Dutch media is reporting that he will abandon soon into the race to save himself for the time trial during the week. 

 

It is the GB team that is spread across the front of the group at the moment as they make their way down the seafront and we wait for the action to start. 

 

One GB rider that isn't up front is Adam Yates. He's dangling off the back at the moment having a little natter with his trade teammate Chris Juul-Jensen. The Irish-born Danish rider who moved to Orica this season. 

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed @SadhbhOS Medals will have to go to riders that had their feet up for the Tour! @nicholasroche for a surprise bronze

@DavidHollywood_ Sat, 6th Aug 2016 12:34:28

The race is properly underway and there is a lot of movement on the front. Some of the smaller cycling nations thinking about forming an attack very early on. The pace has strung the bunch out.

 

A group of six have a small gap on the peloton but they don't make much headway. They continue to wind their way down the coast. 

 

227km remaining from 237km

Most of the Spanish team are sitting at the back of the bunch for now, as is Dumoulin. How far will he go into the race?

 

A problem for one of the Turkish riders. He got squeezed up against the barriers and the incident seems to have dislodged his handlebars somewhat. He takes some time to get going again. 

 

Tony Martin now pushing the pace on the front of the peloton. Germany don't have an outright favourite for this race so they will want a very tough race. 

 

Dumoulin has decided to call it quits after just over 10km. He waits patiently on the side of the road for his team car. Or maybe he's waiting for the traffic to clear so he can ride back to the start. 

 

Geschke takes over from his German teammate and keeps up this very high pace as the bunch negotiates a hairpin bend. One of the Swiss riders struggles to keep up with Geschke and overcooks the corner. 

 

Geschke's tempo forces a split and he has taken two with him. One of those is Kwiatkowski. They sit up a little as they wait for a few more riders to join the fore. 

 

The leading group has six riders in it. Kwiatkowski, Geschke, Bystrom, Albasini are all in there. It also looks like Miguel Angel Lopez is in the group, along with one of the Russians. 

 

Sorry it is Pantano that is representing Colombia in that group. The Russian is Pavel Kochetkov. While Petr Vakoc tries to bridge across. 

 

The peloton looks pretty happy with this and they've knocked off the pace all of a sudden. 

 

The gap has balooned to 54 seconds. Vakoc is not making much ground and is being pulled back to the bunch. 

 

This is an unusually strong early break for an Olympic road race.

@Laura_Weislo Sat, 6th Aug 2016 12:59:30

Vakoc is back with the group. Behind, there is a mechanical problem for Laurens de Plus and he has to come to a halt to have it fixed by a mechanic. There isn't too much worry with the peloton taking it very easy for now. 

 

It's an interesting tactic from Poland to send Kwiatkowski up the road in the early break. They've got two cards to play with Kwiatkowski and Rafal Majka, and they're obviously banking on Majka being the stronger of the two if this comes all back together before the finish. 

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed how do team cars work for Olympic cycling road race?

@sgarchik Sat, 6th Aug 2016 12:51:41

In answer to that last question. Unlike the other races throughout the season, not all teams will have their own vehicle. Bigger nations such as Italy, the Netherland and Great Britain will but smaller nations such as Namibia - who only has one entry - will share with others. Namibia is actually sharing with the Dominican Republic and the USA. 

 

After most of the peloton has been off for a comfort break, Spain decides to speed things up a little. Castroviejo is riding tempo at the front as Wout Poels drops back to his team car for a quick chat. 

 

Notification in that we had one DNS today and that was the German Max Levy. It is no surprise really as Levy is intended for the track competition. 

 

The leaders are briefly descending along the coast as they approach the first, shorter climb of the day. Their advantage is now a whopping 7:51.

 

It is coming up to 10:30 local time and it is already a hot 31 degrees Celcius. There's not much of a sea breeze to help them at the moment. 

 

The leaders have just gone over a cobbled sector and while it's not quite the Arenberg Forrest they are a bit gnarly. It could cause some riders a little bit of trouble. 

 

194km remaining from 237km

There are some tarmacked sections next to these cobbles and the riders quickly avail of it while it lasts. The breakaway still working very well together. 

 

The peloton turn away from the coast as they begin to climb. Garmany and the Netherlands give Spain and Italy a hand at the front. In the break it is Michael Albasini that lead them up the ascent with Pantano at the back. 

 

Crash as the peloton go onto the cobbles. It is Ahmet Örken of Turkey that has hit the deck. A few riders have to take to the dirt on the side of those part of the sector to avoid coming down. 

 

191km remaining from 237km

A mechanical problem for Richie Porte, his chain has bounced off over the cobbles. 

 

A small group of riders brave enough to stick with the cobbles but most of the peloton jump onto that minute bit of tarmac on the right side of the road before rejoining soon after. 

 

There are some riders already off the back of the bunch. Tim Wellens is one of those who is chasing back on. Wellens should be one of Belgium's wildcard options today, if he can make it back.

 

The peloton is on one of the toughest sections of the first climb. This punch affair has gradients of up to 18 per cent. 

 

Screeching of brakes from the TV moto as it tries to keep up with the riders on the descent of this climb. It's narrow and twisty, and generally just very difficult. 

 

184km remaining from 237km

There are some big cross winds on this flat section of road and there are riders losing touch. No echelons just yet but the bunch has started to string out. 

 

Almost 50km into the day and the riders pick up some food from the soigneurs stationed around the course. 

The gap has dropped down a bit to 6:57. The peloton has been putting in a concerted effort since they hit the circuit. 

 

The Colombian representation in the breakaway, Jarlinson Pantano was a late inclusion into the Olympics. He got the call up when Nairo Quintana decided to pull out in order to rest up after the Tour de France. Pantano enjoyed a very successful Tour de France, winning stage 15 to Culoz after an exciting battle with Rafal Majka. 

 

Spain, Italy and Great Britain are sharing the effort on the front with Castorviejo, De Marchi and Stannard. Behind those three is the remainder of the Great Britain team, ensuring that they stay safe in case of a crash. 

 

175km remaining from 237km

Another huge chunk taken out of the advantage over the peloton. After peaking at almost 8 minutes, it is down to 5:35.

 

The Olympic Games are very strict when it comes to sponsorship. Athletes are not allowed to wear anything that has a visible logo not officially affiliated to the Olympics. For cyclists, they are however allowed to ride the bikes of their trade teams. Bike manufacturers have taken advantage of that and have gone for some stand-out colour schemes. Specialized opted for a torch-themed colour scheme that changes colour in the heat. You can take a look at that here

 

170km remaining from 237km

Onto the second of four laps and the leaders are back on the cobbles. Their advantage is still coming down and they're going to struggle to keep the peloton at bay for the two laps after this if the pace continues like this. 

 

Albasini loses a bottle and almost his chain as he bounces across the cobbles. This is not his normal terrain. 

 

168km remaining from 237km

A problem for Bystrom, he appears to be having gear issues. He looks like he's about to stop but he carries on. The leaders are back on the tarmac now as the peloton reach the cobbles and there are yet more mechanical problems for a litany of riders, including representation from Ireland and the Netherlands. 

 

It's hard to tell but it looks like it might have been Mollema who was the Dutch rider on the side of the road trying to put his chain back on. 

 

Bystrom gets a replacement bike and he's back on his way. It was actually a problem with his seatpost that was causing the issues. 

 

A crash on the cobbles after a rider connects with some foliage on the side of the road. 

 

A puncture for Van Avermaet and he's waving at the commisaire madly to try and get the team car to come and help him. That's some bad luck for the Belgian. 

 

It was Mollema that had an issue on the cobbles and after a long discussion with the team car, while on the move, he gets a new wheel. No sooner is he on his way that he has to stop again and takes a whole new bike. That is some very bad luck for the Dutchman and a lot of wasted energy with still a very long way to go. 

 

Mollema now making his way back alone as the peloton begin the descent of this Grumari climb. Van Avermaet also chasing alone. 

 

161km remaining from 237km

Ivan Stevic gives Mollema a flick of the head and tells him to jump in his wheel. The Serbian tries to help him for as long as he can but Mollema is just too quick.

 

As Mollema works his way through the cars, here is a beautiful picture of the peloton by Getty from earlier in the race.

 

 

Mollema back onto the peloton now. The group is significantly smaller than it was when he left it. Many have been dropped on that last climb and will just be hoping to make it to the finish. 

 

Today's photo of the day WILL NOT be from #Olympics https://t.co/HLVDziQRur

@Mattbrammeier85 Sat, 6th Aug 2016 14:21:44

Cancellara has just paid a visit back to the team cars and is now making his way back up. Looks like it was just for refreshments and no problems for the Swiss man riding his final Olympic Games. 

 

156km remaining from 237km

The pace knocks off as the peloton passes through the feed zone. It is a bit chaotic as riders and helpers are all over the road. It's a miracle that everybody managed to stay upright.  

 

Another bike change for Mollema as he takes his original bike back. Hopefully the issues with it have been fixed. 

 

The latest time check for the six escapees is five minutes. 

 

150km remaining from 237km

If, and that's a big if, the breakaway do make it to the finish then Michael Albasini and Sven Erik Bystrom would fancy their chances. Bystrom is a former under-23 road race champion, after winning from a breakaway in Ponferrada in 2014. Albasini is the much more experienced head of those two with a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana, the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de Romandie to his name.

 

Despite the brief slowing in pace, the gap to the escapees continues to come down and has now dropped below the five-minute mark. The peloton is likely to try and keep them out front until around the finish of the final circuit with around 100km to go. 

 

It's still the same three riders at the front of the peloton, Stannard, De Marchi and Castroviejo. The Netherlands and Australia are visible but they're sitting a few places back for now. 

 

A slow-mo replay shows bottles flying out of bottle cages as the leaders hit the cobbles again. British TV was speculating earlier that the Olympic bidons were just a bit too small, which is why they appear to be popping out very easily on the pave. 

 

We mentioned Valverde as one of the favourites for today's race. You can read some of his thoughts on today's race, here

 

143km remaining from 237km

More problems on the cobbles for the peloton. Lars Petter Nordhaug is one of the many to be forced to jump off and replace his chain. 

 

It looks like Kiriyenka has climbed off. Not clear though. A slow-mo shot shows him taking his gloves off his swollen hands. The cobbles are always brutal on the hands. 

 

These cobbles appear to be causing all sorts of saddle problems for the riders. Matej Mohoric has to go back to the team car to get his saddle height fixed. 

 

Still 139km to go. Let us know your favourites for the medals by tweeting us on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS

 

It's good that the Olympics are following the rule that dictates that Pantano must be included in every break.

@nyvelocity Sat, 6th Aug 2016 14:58:27

135km remaining from 237km

Just one lap left of this opening circuit followed by a flat section that brings the peloton to the second, much tougher circuit with the Vista Chinesa. 

 

Phinney excited by prospect of racing Vuelta a Espana with van Garderen: https://t.co/2j2l0GyqNH https://t.co/9oftOJTDX0

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 6th Aug 2016 15:00:20

The effort in the breakaway seems a little more laboured now. Albasini is giving a good old grimace as he drives on the front of the group. 

 

132km remaining from 237km

The gap is still edging down but not at an alarming pace as the peloton comes in to complete the third lap of this circuit. 

 

That gap is around 4:25 for the six leaders. 

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed It could get interesting if Kwiatkowski and Pantano could get with more than 2 minutes of the peleton to Caonas climb.

@Edgars_Ikstens Sat, 6th Aug 2016 15:04:25

@Cyclingnewsfeed but for me it looks that Italy and Spain has everything under control.

@Edgars_Ikstens Sat, 6th Aug 2016 15:05:57

A front wheel puncture for Fabio Aru but he's quickly back on his bike. He's on one of the specially painted Specialized bikes. With the heat out there is it all yellow. 

 

Specialized is not the only manufacturer to have gone for a spacial paint scheme. Canyon has also done one and you can see that here

 

126km remaining from 237km

Aru adopts that now common top tube aero position as he chases back on. With very little effort and help from the draft of a team vehicle, he quickly makes it back to the bunch. 

 

123km remaining from 237km

The two riders in this breakaway that we are yet to talk about are Pavel Kochetkov and Simon Geschke. Kochetkov is one of three Russians riding the race with Alexey Kurbatov a late addition to their line-up. The 30-year-old has been riding for Katusha for the past three seasons and is the current Russian national champion. 

 

Geschke is coming to the end of his eighth season with the Giant-Alpecin team. The biggest win of his career was a stage victory at last year's Tour de France where he beat Andrew Talasnky in a breakaway on Pra Loup. 

 

@Cyclingnewsfeed whoever decided on a 238k road race in the tropics is definitely out of his/her mind! #toughparcours #Rio2016

@cjsed Sat, 6th Aug 2016 15:16:53

@SadhbhOS think Joaquin Rodriguez can pull off one last win?

@alexpbloom Sat, 6th Aug 2016 15:21:20

@SadhbhOS think Joaquin Rodriguez can pull off one last win?

@alexpbloom Sat, 6th Aug 2016 15:21:20

Rodriguez is certainly a good option for today but he will have to take things into his own hands. If it comes down to a small group then it is his teammate Valverde that stands a much better option.

 

Another problem on the cobbles for Porte. He had an issue on the first go around. It seems to be a problem with his chain and a teammate drops back to help him make it back.

 

A terrible time to have a problem as the Czech Republic drops the hammer in the wind and the bunch has really split up. Thomas, Froome, Gilbert, Cancellara among those that have made the cut. 

 

118km remaining from 237km

Waiting to get a proper shot of the front group so we can see exactly who has made the cut and who has missed out. 

 

Britain has three riders in that group, including Froome. No sight of Yates just yet. Majka appears to be there, as is Konig. Valverde, Nibali and the whole Dutch team missed the split but it appears to be coming back together. 

 

The gap is now three minutes to our escapees while there is a dropped group that is around 50 seconds down. I assume Richie Porte is in that group behind but there has been no sighting of him just yet. 

 

Cumming is really stringing this out but someone obviously says something to him and he slows down. 

 

114km remaining from 237km

Fourth time down that tricky descent and it has taken its first victim with one of the Iranian riders going straight on at a tight corner. 

 

Cummings suddenly takes to the front again and splits things up again. He's taken around six or seven riders with him. 

 

Roche, Thomas, Gilbert, Van Avermaet, Costa, Clarke, De Marchie and Phinney among those that have made the juncture. The move has put pressure on the other teams and France now setting the pace. 

 

The little dig comes to nothing and it is all back together for now. Daniel Teklehaimanot sitting on the back of the bunch. 

 

110km remaining from 237km

The leaders complete the final lap of this first circuit and collect a bit more food. Kochetkov isn't happy with his sandwich fillings and he throws his arms up in disgust. 

 

We hear Richie Porte has made it back to the peloton. That is good news for the Australian. He's had a lot of bad luck this season, particularly with mechanical problems. 

 

Riders feeling the heat and Dan Craven choses to bin the contents of one of his bidons over his head. 

 

107km remaining from 237km

Tim Wellens struggling, perhaps paying for earlier efforts. Peols is also off the back and he's forced to chase back on. 

 

I had Poels as my pick for today but he seems to be in trouble. The heat can do funny things to riders. 

 

Cummings driving on and the gap to the escapees is just 1:48 now. In his wake is a string of riders desperately trying to keep up. 

 

The British newspaper the Telegraph reporting that Chris Froome had to be reminded to sign-on just minutes before the start this morning. The Tour champion forgot about the formality and risked being chucked from the race. 

 

101km remaining from 237km

Fabian Cancellara has been keeping himself close to the front of the group for much of the race so far. The Swiss rider will have a tough time holding on over the second circuit. 

 

The leaders hit the coast again as they approach the second circuit of the day. The gap is now just 1:47.

 

Mechanical problem for Chris Froome. He remembers to collect his bottles and is given a new bike. He's got now teammates with him at the moment but he seems more interested in the contents of his musette rather than chasing back on. 

 

Froome now has Thomas with him and Algeria's Youcef Reguigui. 

 

97km remaining from 237km

Cummings seems to have no knowledge of Froome's problems and he continues to set the pace in the peloton. 

 

Froome and Thomas being paced back by a car. They've been behind that car for quite some time. Ordinarily, that would be quickly stopped by the commissaire but there doesn't seem to be anyone around so they carry on right up to the beck of the bunch.

 

The pair could still find themselves in trouble after the race but that remains to be seen. 

 

What's The fine for pacing in a 1-Day race ? @UCI_cycling #Rio2016 #OlympicRR https://t.co/y4KZSvESb8

@MRasmussen1974 Sat, 6th Aug 2016 16:03:29

91km remaining from 237km

Cummings finally peels off the front and Spain takes over again, They're got four riders up towards the front. Cummings is in the middle of their train, as is South Africa's Daryl Impey. 

 

Wout Poels is back in this main group but he's right at the back. He's got Kruijswijk and Mollema for company back there on this flat section of road. 

 

Italy has also formed a train behind Spain with Nibali near the front of that train. At the back again Mollema is working his way up and nearly gets taken out by Nordhaug who is signalling for a car to come up to him. 

 

There were some concerns that there would be wind along the beach front but it seems calm out there. Around 10km to go before the riders hit this second and final circuit. 

 

85km remaining from 237km

The breakaway has managed to delay the inevitable by holding the gap to the peloton on this section of the course. The gap has been holding steady at 2:15.

 

83km remaining from 237km

Canada moving up to the front of the peloton. They've got Michael Woods in their team and he might be getting ready for a little dig off the front. 

 

Spied @rusty_woods tucked in peloton. Curious to see what he can uncork in #Rio2016 finale.

@pietrohymasini Sat, 6th Aug 2016 16:18:10

Before the riders hit the Vista Chinesa circuit, there is a small punchy climb that could be a place for an outsider to have a go. 

 

The leaders turn right over the Lagoa de Tijuca and aim for the climbs. There is a sense of anticipation behind in the bunch, they know what is about to come. 

 

The break is climbing again and Kwiatkowski moves to the front. He looks much more comfortable than some of his companions. Bystrom is distanced and Albasini is continuing his range of pain faces. 

 

77km remaining from 237km

Albasini pops now and we are down to four at the front. 

 

The peloton climbing now and Wout Poels is right out the back. He doesn't look like he's going to be in contention today. 

 

Bystrom back in the peloton now and he quickly moved to the back. Cummings back up front with Spain helping him out. 

 

Up front, Geschke looks like he's going to be the next to go. He's dangling off the back. 

 

Cummings looks like his day is done. He swings off as they hit the main climb of the day and Italy takes up the pace setting. 

 

Cummings, after a mammoth effort on the front, has taken his glasses off, wiped his brow and slowed to a near-standstill on the road

@mattmcgeehan Sat, 6th Aug 2016 16:34:48

73km remaining from 237km

It is actually Pantano that drops off the break group next, not Geschke. Just three out front and they've only just started this Vista Chinesa climb.

 

Things go from bad to worse for Poels and he appears to have got involved in a crash. He doesn't look too badly injured, just annoyed. 

 

72km remaining from 237km

Two Italian riders setting the pace on the bunch. Van Avermaet is close behind. Valverde up there as is Froome, Chaves, Cancellara and Nibali. 

 

Geschke blows a gasket and goes backwards as Kochetkov strikes out. No reaction from Kwiatkowski, who just continues setting a steady tempo. 

Philippe Gilbert is in trouble at the back of the peloton. Edvald Boasson Hagen with him. 

 

71km remaining from 237km

De Marchi attacks and take Van Avermaet and Thomas with them. They pass Pantano. 

 

De Marchi looks unsure, he keeps looking over his shoulder but keeps pushing on too. He's not getting any help from Van Avermaet or Thomas yet. 

 

Spain has gone to the front, they can't let these three go. 

 

At the front, Kwiatkowski brings Kochetkov back. He didn't panic and just reeled the Russian back in. 

 

Apologies, the Italian is Damiano Caruso not De Marchi. He and his companions have 14 seconds on the bunch. The two leaders are 52 seconds ahead of the main group. 

 

71km remaining from 237km

Rein Taaramae has jumped the gap to the three chasers.

 

Sergio Henao attacks from the bunch. 

 

69km remaining from 237km

Spain still refusing to send someone up the road. They keep Castroviejo on the front, drilling the pace. He's doing a solid job because he's holding the gap pretty steady around 14 seconds. He's also bringing back the two leaders slowly. 

 

Big crowds cheering on the riders on this climb as Castroviejo continues to drag the bunch along. 

 

67km remaining from 237km

There is a small descent midway up this climb before it ramps up again for three more kilometres. From there it is a very technical descent to the bottom. 

 

Reports coming that there was a controlled explosion at the finish line. There was a very loud bang around 10 minutes ago but it appears that it is all at hand. 

 

66km remaining from 237km

The main peloton has just 40 riders remaining. In the group is Dan Martin, Chris Froome, Alejandro Valverde, Richie Porte, Fabian Cancellara, Vincenzo Nibali, Joaquim Rodriguez. No visual on any of the Dutch team just yet. 

 

63km remaining from 237km

The gap between the two leaders and the chasers is less than 30 seconds. The peloton is a further 25 seconds behind them. 

 

Caruso is the one that is really going for it down this descent, closely followed by Thomas. 

 

61km remaining from 237km

The shade from the trees makes this descent pretty dark and just a little bit harder to spot the many switchbacks on the way down. This is a very technical descent. 

 

Chase group remains 30 seconds behind the two leaders as they hit the bottom of the descent. Spain have thrown three riders to the front. The gap is not excessive but they're not really bringing it back either. 

 

Bad news for Spain as Erviti climbs off. They need all the help they can get to bring this back. 

 

56km remaining from 237km

Have spotted Majka in that main peloton. He looks fairly comfortable for now. No sign of any Dutch in that group. 

 

Fance also appear to be absent but there may be one of their riders at the back of this group. 

 

Cancellara is still in the front peloton - in fourth place. He's looking good! #Rio2016

@VeloVoices Sat, 6th Aug 2016 17:05:06

Some good news for the Dutch, Kruijswijk is in there. We catch a sighting of him as he drops back for a drink. Romain Bardet also moving forward for France. 

 

52km remaining from 237km

Denmark has two riders in that group, one of which is Fuglsang. It is slowly coming back together, with the chasing group now 20 seconds up the road. The leaders are a further 28 seconds ahead. 

 

Of the casing group, you would have to favour Van Avermaet in a run to the line. Thomas isn't too bad in that situation either but the Belgian should have the edge. That's easier said than done because two more times up to the Vista Chinesa is going to be leg-sapping. 

 

Fabio Aru has a squeeky bum time moment when he tries to pick up a bottle from the car while going around a corner. He has to make a second go of things once they hit a straight section. 

 

The chasers have a visual on the two leaders now but the peloton isn't too far behind them either. Just under 50km to go and nothing is certain, by any stretch of the imagination. 

 

48km remaining from 237km

Another food stop for the riders, they need plenty of fluids and food on a day like today. 

 

Other riders in that main group are Serge Pauwels for Belgium and Rui Costa for Portugal. Two riders who aren't afraid of an attack. Although Pauwels won't do anything while his teammate is up the road. 

 

Castroviejo is finally done after a massive pull on the front. There is a lot of looking at each other between the other nations as their is some indecision as to who picks things up. 

 

Druasek takes a flyer off the front and a few riders trying to bridge over to him.

 

Gilbert makes it back onto the main group but will he be able to hang on for long up this climb?

 

Kwiatkowski drops Kochetkov as the pace increases in the chasing group. Kochetkov is quickly mopped up by them. 

 

Fans trying to help the riders by squirting water on them but one almost takes out Van Avermaet and Thomas. 

 

46km remaining from 237km

It looks like Taaramae has been dropped from this chasing group as it closes in on Kwiatkowski. He is mopped up by one of the Kazakh riders who is trying to bridge across. 

 

Kwiatkowski is really struggling now and he's almost back with the Caruso group. Behind them, the Durasek group is making ground. With him is Roglic, Bennett and Chernetski. 

 

45km remaining from 237km

Kwiatkowski is finally brought back. Henao moves to the front now as Van Avermaer struggles a little. 

 

Reichenback is also in that second group on the road. 

 

43km remaining from 237km

Andrey Zeits is the Kazakhstan rider in that leading group. 

 

The chasing group has been caught and the peloton is now just 30 seconds behind the leaders. 

 

Cancellara has been distanced, as has Roche. Clarke up the front setting the pace for Australia. 

 

Kwiatkowski doing well to hold onto this leading group. He's been out front for almost the whole race but he's still plugging on. 

 

41km remaining from 237km

The Netherland's final hope Steven Kruijswijk has blown and is quickly going backwards. That is a disaster for a team that were expected to have many options in this finale. 

 

The gap is holding firm for now. 30 seconds between the leaders and the so-called peloton. 

 

For the USA team, it appears Brent Bookwalter is still in the main group but he's right near the back. 

 

Kwiatkowski sits up and waits for the peloton to catch him. He'll be good use for Majka if he's not too tired. Behind him, Fuglsang is on the attack. 

 

39km remaining from 237km

The leaders are back on the descent and it's only going to get harder as they get increasingly tired. A descent like this requires a lot of attention, which is not easy this far into a race like this. 

 

10 seconds is now the gap on this descent. Sergio Henao is guiding the leaders down.

 

Crash for one of the Portuguese riders. Looks like it is Oliveira. 

 

A replay shows he just over-did it on a corner and hit one of the big curbs that line it. He ends up face first in the netting on the side of the road. 

 

And Porte goes down. He looks in a bad way. 

 

No indication as to how he went down but it looks like a similar situation to Oliveira. He looks ok but he doesn't look like he's in a rush to get moving. That is likely the end of his day. 

 

34km remaining from 237km

Italy has attacked on the descent. There's two of them and it looks like one is Aru. 

 

The Italians have made the juncture to the leaders, as has Adam Yates. Majka is also there. 

 

Nibali is the other Italian to have made it over and Fuglsang is also there. 

 

32km remaining from 237km

Kwiatkowski is also back in that group. Poland, Britain and Italy all have multiple riders in this move. 

 

Spain has sprung into life finally. Rodriguez and Valverde are trying to jump across with Costa (I'm getting deja vu). Impey is with the trio. 

 

29km remaining from 237km

The Valverde group is brought back. It looks like Spain was asleep at the wheel there. Have they messed this up or can they bring it back?

 

Time check has the leading group at 50 seconds ahead of the peloton as Kwiatkowski starts suffering from cramp. 

 

He seems ok now but he has lost some valuable ground. 

 

Fabian Cancellara is trying to utilise his time trialling skills to shut down the gap. They're running out of road though. 

 

Froome is off the back of the main group. 

 

Caruso is really putting the hammer down in the leading group. He's got Aru in his wheel and Nibali is behind him. Italy is working for Nibali but Aru is a good plan b. 

 

26km remaining from 237km

Valverde now pushing on the front as this group keeps reducing. Desperate times call for desperate measures it seems. Spain may have really messed this up. 

 

Valverde is swapping on the front with Cancellara as the French start moving up. They're coming to pitch in.

 

This up front look much calmer, with Caruso continuing to drive things. The gap is 40 seconds to the chasers and it is coming down. Cancellara and Valverde are doing some damage. 

 

23km remaining from 237km

The French have three riders, the Swiss have two. Impey is bringing teammate Meintjes towards the front. Froome is still in there sitting just behind Rodriguez. It looks like Mollema is at the back of that chasing group. 

 

Caruso has pulled off, he is completely cooked, and Aru now winds up the pace. Behind, Kangert attacks and Vulliermoz tries to follow him. 

 

If Kangert were to make it up, that would be the fifth Astana rider to do that. 

 

Aru attacks but Zeits counters and passes him. The pace is too much for Yates who is being distanced. 

 

Surprisingly, Van Avermaet is still in this group. He is a serious threat if he can keep touch. 

 

22km remaining from 237km

Aru now in trouble after making that attack. 

 

A chase group has formed with Rodriguez, Meintjes and Taaramae and they can see Yates up front. Valverde has been dropped.

 

Froome attacks from the third group on the road and distances Bardet. 

 

Costa is bringing the fourth group on the road back to Froome.

 

Aru continues to struggle as Majka has a dig. Nibali, Henao and Thomas stick with him. Van Avermaet is fighting to get back on. 

 

Froome has joined up with Yates. They are 30 seconds behind the second group on the road, which is 30 seconds behind the leaders.

 

Bardet has connected with Froome as Fuglsang joins forces with the leading group. This is poised beautifully. 

 

20km remaining from 237km

The pace has knocked off in the leading group and it looks like Rodriguez and Meintjes are about to join up with them. Taaramae has been dropped it seems. 

 

Fuglsang on the front now, is he working for Nibali?

 

Rodrigues and Meintjes are with the front group. These are the riders up front: Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium), Geraint Thomas (Great Britain), Sergio Henao (Colombia), Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Rafal Majka (Poland), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Fabio Aru (Italy), Andrey Zeits (Kazakkhstan), Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain), Louis Meintjes (South Africa)

 

Alaphilippe has put in a huge effort, gone past the Froome group and joined up with Kangert, who was dropped by the Rodriguez group. 

 

Alaphilippe has gone again and dropped Kangert. Froome is now alone but we ave no idea as to where he is compared to everyone else. 

 

17km remaining from 237km

Nibali has a dig and Henao goes with him as they hit one of the very steep ramps on this ascent. Majka is chasing hard. 

 

We have a time check, Alaphilippe is 25 seconds behind the three and Froome at 45 seconds. 

 

Nibali attacks again and he's alone. 

 

16km remaining from 237km

Henao leads the chase and brings back Nibali. Behind Alaphilippe has joined up with the dropped riders. 

 

This is far from over. There is still that very tricky descent to negotiate and a long, flat run to the line. 

 

Porte crashes out of Olympic Games road race: https://t.co/XCIfJYiien #Rio2016 https://t.co/8mJZO8P4wn

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 6th Aug 2016 18:16:57

Nibali is of course, one of the strongest descenders in the peloton, so he'll be hopeful of increasing the gap once they're over the top. 

 

Costa has joined up with Froome but it's going to be a tough ask to bridge over to the leaders now. 

 

Alaphiliippe moves to the front of this chasing group with Van Avermaet. They're not too far behind the three leaders. 

 

15km remaining from 237km

The gap between the two groups is just 15 seconds. 

 

Froome has now been dropped by Costa, he doesn't look like he's having a fun time right now. 

 

The leaders have hit the descent and it looks like there's little more than a handful of seconds between the two groups.

 

10 seconds my stopwatch tells me. 

 

I'm not 100 % convinced this is over. (*tweet subject to quiet deletion.)

@EdwardPickering Sat, 6th Aug 2016 18:23:40

Kangert is still in no man's land as he crests the climb. 

 

12km remaining from 237km

Crash, Nibali and Henao has gone down. Majka is alone out front. 

 

It was on one of those corners and it looks like Nibali was the first to go down. Henao looks to be in a lot of pain. Nibali is not going anywhere either and they're both passed by the chasing group. 

 

reports coming through that Thomas has crashed as well. 

 

9km remaining from 237km

Thomas is sat in a gutter, his race is over. 

 

19 seconds for Majka but it looks like the chasers are fighting for silver. There's no concerted chase. 

 

7km remaining from 237km

Van Avermaet tries to attack but he doesn't get very far. 

 

Rodriguez is having a big discussion, perhaps he's a little annoyed they're not chasing. 

 

Just 6km for Majka.

 

He has 23 seconds now as Aru makes it back into this chasing group. 

 

Aru quickly moves to the front and ups the pace but his dig doesn't last long. Nobody wants to work together here and Majka's gap is going out. 

 

5km remaining from 237km

Alaphilippe now picks it up and it is stringing out. This isn't over yet. 

 

4km remaining from 237km

Fuglsang is the next to go and Van Avermaet follows. The gap is coming down. It's just 13 seconds. 

 

This is tense

 

Majka is giving his all but Van Avermaet and Fuglsang are closing in on him. Alaphilippe is trying to chase them down. 

 

The latest time check is now just 10 seconds.

 

3km remaining from 237km

Alaphilippe doesn't look like he's making any ground. The medals look like they are going to Majka, Van Avermaet and Fuglsang, but who will get what colour?

 

The chasers can see Majka up the road, the Polish rider seems in touching distance.

 

2km remaining from 237km

Majka keeps looking over his shoulder but I'm sure he can sense the presence of the two chasers. 

 

Just 4 seconds between Majka and the two chasers

 

Fuglsang and Van Avermaet have made the juncture to Majka. Van Avermaet is the faster sprinter but who knows what will happen after such a tough race. 

 

1km to go!

 

The leaders are working together or now but for how long?

 

500 metres to go.

 

Fuglsang leads them onto the finishing straight. 

 

Van Avermaet goes first

 

Van Avermaet wins!

 

Fuglsang was a close second to Van Avermaet with Majka just tapping it home for third, he had nothing left in that sprint. 

 

A nice moment as Fuglsang gives Van Avermaet his congratulations. 

 

Going into the race, Gilbert appeared to be the favourite for the Belgian squad but Van Avermaet rode a brilliant race. He was dropped a couple of times but he used that descent to his advantage, helping him make it back each time. He's so often been the nearly man but, this season, he really has shaken that moniker off.

 

Froome finishes three minutes down with Dan Martin

 

An impressive ride from Fuglsang too when it looked like he was resigning himself to working for his trade teammate Nibali. 

 

Serge Pauwels crosses the line, he sees that his teammate has won the race and claps his hands. 

 

I wonder if Belgium brought a few Kwaremonts just in case they might win. 

 

The descent proved to be as crucial to that race as the climb up to Vista Chinesa. Had Nibali and Henao stayed upright, that group of three could well have gone to the line. On his own, a tired Majka struggled to hold off the chasers. 

 

Italy looked to have set it up perfectly, with the work form De Marchi, Caruso and Aru but it came to naught. They had to settle for sixth place with Aru. 

 

What an incredible race of @GregVanAvermaet ! An Olympic Champion that everyone is happy with, no doubt about that ! #congrats #respect

@Jasperstuyven Sat, 6th Aug 2016 18:48:38

As well as Italy, Britain, Australia and the Netherlands will be very disappointed with today. 

 

Confirmation of the top 9 today

 

1 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) 06:10:05
2 Jacob Fuglsang (Denmark)
3 Rafal Majka (Poland) 00:00:05
4 Julian Alaphilippe (France) 00:00:22
5 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain)
6 Fabio Aru (Italy)
7 Louis Meintjes (Republich of South Africa)
8 Andrey Zeits (Kazakhastan) 00:00:25
9 Tanel Kangert (Estonia) 00:01:47

 

Rafał Majka wins 1st medal for Poland on the road since silver in TTT (1988). 1st individual medal on the road since 1980. #Rio2016

@8aldwin Sat, 6th Aug 2016 18:51:51

Van Avermaet celebrates his victory

 

 

"It was always going to be 1 of the hardest 1 day races of all time & it pretty much lived up to that." @SimoClarke https://t.co/pBepOyWDHM

@reecehomfray Sat, 6th Aug 2016 19:00:36

British television reporting that Geraint Thomas is receiving medical attention. He hit the deck pretty hard on that descent, although he did manage to finish the race. 

 

We can expand on those results with a top 20, you can find the results, photos and report from today right here

1 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) 06:10:05
2 Jacob Fuglsang (Denmark)
3 Rafal Majka (Poland) 00:00:05
4 Julian Alaphilippe (France) 00:00:22
5 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain)
6 Fabio Aru (Italy)
7 Louis Meintjes (Republich of South Africa)
8 Andrey Zeits (Kazakhastan) 00:00:25
9 Tanel Kangert (Estonia) 00:01:47
10 Rui Costa (Portugal) 00:02:29
11 Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)
12 Chris Froome (Great Britain) 00:02:58
13 Daniel Martin (Ireland)
14 Emanuel Buchmann (Germany)
15 Adam Yates (Great Britain) 00:03:30
16 Brent Bookwalter (United States of America) 00:03:31
17 Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
18 Kristijan Durasek (Croatia)
19 Sebastien Reichenbach (Switzerland)
20 Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)

 

The Swiss team may have left the race without a medal but Fabian Cancellara will take a big boost from his performance ahead of the time trial. He climbed very well, sticking up there until the final lap. 

 

Everyone in the top 10 except Zeits rode the Tour de France #Rio2016

@XylonVE Sat, 6th Aug 2016 19:08:36

Simon Clarke of Australia said today's Rio 2016 road cycling demolition derby: "pretty much lived up to" his... https://t.co/z90oRlhZjn

@Bonnie_D_Ford Sat, 6th Aug 2016 19:12:21

Super proud of @LouisMeintjes @darylimpey what an incredible race @teamsa16 #OlympicRoadRace https://t.co/QBJrbnFATn

@dougryd Sat, 6th Aug 2016 19:08:27

 Disappointment in the end for Great Britain, who had Thomas and Yates in the main break. The latter was dropped and Thomas crashed but they're not the only team to come away from the Olympic Games road race empty handed. Spain, Italy, France all missed out on a medal too.

Reports in that Porte is unlikely to race the time trial on Wednesday due to a suspected broken collarbone. Geraint Thomas has also been taken to hospital for scans after his fall too.

 

That's it from us today. We hope you've enjoyed the coverage. You can find our report, results, and images right here. Join us tomorrow for complete live coverage from the women's Olympic Games road race.

 

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