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Olympics: Richard Carapaz claims men's road race title

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Ecuadors Richard Carapaz celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the mens cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Carapaz raises his arms in victory (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Richard Carapaz (ECU - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Carapaz has time to celebrate in the home straight (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gold medallist Ecuadors Richard Carapaz celebrates his victory on the podium during the medal ceremony for the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Carapaz on the podium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 LR Tadej Pogacar of Team Slovenia bronze medal Wout van Aert of Team Belgium silver medalist sprints on arrival during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

The sprint for second place (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Wout van Aert of Team Belgium celebrates winning the silver medal on arrival during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Van Aert gives it everything but settles for silver (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Pogacar swung right to sprint for bronze (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Richard Carapaz (ECU - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Carapaz crosses the line (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador Brandon McNulty of Team United States in the breakaway during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

McNulty and Carapaz head onto the Speedway circuit (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 LR Silver medalist Wout van Aert of Team Belgium gold medalist Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador and bronze medalist Tadej Pogacar of Team Slovenia pose on the podium during the medal ceremony during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

The medallists (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador celebrates winning the gold medal during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Carapaz wins Olympic gold (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Ecuadors Richard Carapaz celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the mens cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Carapaz crosses the line (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Ecuadors Richard Carapaz celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the mens cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Carapaz punches the air in delight (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 A general view the peloton prior to the Mens road race on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The start line (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 LR Mauri Vansevenant Tiesj Benoot Wout van Aert Remco Evenepoel and Guillaume Martin of Team France prior to the Mens road race on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

The Belgians on the start line (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Scenery - Start - photo Peter De Voecht/PN/BettiniPhoto©2021

The race is waved underway (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Czech Republics Michael Kukrle 2L leads the breakway group with Greeces Polychronis Tzortzakis 2R Venezuelas Orluis Alberto Aular Sanabria R South Africas Nicholas Dlamini unseen and Slovakias Juraj Sagan L during the first lap of the Fuji International Speedway in the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

The early breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Norways Andreas Leknessund front R rides in the peloton past Yamanaka Lake during the mens cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Yamanashi Prefecture Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

The early phase of the race (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The peloton rides in the Fuji International Speedway during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

The course was based around the Fuji Speedway circuit (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The breakaway group leads the race during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as they enter the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

The break heading onto the track again (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Cyclists ride in the peloton during the first lap of the Fuji International Speedway in the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

The peloton on the track (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Slovenias Jan Tratnik leads the second group during the first lap of the Fuji International Speedway in the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Jan Tratnik did a huge amount of work to bring the breakaway back (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Slovenias Tadej Pogacar C rides on the peloton during the first lap of the Fuji International Speedway in the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Tadej Pogacar in the peloton (Image credit: Getty Images)
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RL Slovakias Juraj Sagan leads the breakaway group Czech Republics Michael Kukrle Greeces Polychronis Tzortzakis Venezuelas Orluis Alberto Aular Sanabria and South Africas Nicholas Dlamini as they ride past Yamanaka Lake during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Yamanashi Prefecture Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

The early breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Slovenias Tadej Pogacar makes an attack in a breakaway group during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games finishing at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Tim de Waele POOL AFP Photo by TIM DE WAELEPOOLAFP via Getty Images

Pogacar launches his attack on Mikuni Pass (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tadej Pogacar R of Team Slovenia attack in the breakaway in the mens cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Tim de Waele POOL AFP Photo by TIM DE WAELEPOOLAFP via Getty Images

Pogacar looks around to survey the damage (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Slovenias Tadej Pogacar R rides in a breakaway group during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games finishing at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Tim de Waele POOL AFP Photo by TIM DE WAELEPOOLAFP via Getty Images

McNulty and Woods link up with Pogacar on Mikuni Pass (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Michael Woods of Team Canada during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Michael Woods attacked ahead of the descent (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Wout van Aert of Team Belgium in the breakaway during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Wout van Aert on the move (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 LR Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador Brandon McNulty of Team United States in the breakaway during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

McNulty attacked with 25km to and was joined by Carapaz (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Maximilian Schachmann of Team Germany in the breakaway during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Schachmann grimaces in the chase group (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Denmarks Jakob Fuglsang rides during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games finishing at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Tim de Waele POOL AFP Photo by TIM DE WAELEPOOLAFP via Getty Images

Fuglsang on the attack (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Adam Yates of Team Great Britain Wout van Aert of Team Belgium in the breakaway during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Adam Yates launches an acceleration in the chase (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Belgiums Wout van Aert R and Colombias Rigoberto Uran 2R lead a breakaway during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games finishing at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Tim de Waele POOL AFP Photo by TIM DE WAELEPOOLAFP via Getty Images

Van Aert leads the chase group with Uran, Woods, Gaudu, Yates (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador in the breakaway during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Carapaz drops McNulty on the Fuji circuit (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador in the breakaway during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Carapaz makes his bid for glory (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Richard Carapaz (ECU - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Carapaz wins it (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ecuadors Richard Carapaz celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the mens cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Carapaz in full celebration mode (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Richard Carapaz (ECU - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Carapaz raises his arms in delight (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ecuadors Richard Carapaz celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the mens cycling road race during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

Carapaz crosses the line after more than six hours of racing (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Richard Carapaz (ECU - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Carapaz can't believe it (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Wout Van Aert (BEL - Jumbo - Visma) - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

The sprint for second (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Slovenias Tadej Pogacar front and Belgiums Wout van Aert sprint to the finish line for the second position during the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Jeff PACHOUD AFP Photo by JEFF PACHOUDAFP via Getty Images

Pogacar and Van Aert slug it out for silver (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Wout Van Aert (BEL - Jumbo - Visma) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Van Aert second again (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Dutch Bauke Mollema of TrekSegafredo and Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma crosses the finish line of the mens cycling road race on the second day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with finish at the Fuji Speedway in Gotenba Tokyo Japan on Saturday 24 July 2021 The postponed 2020 Summer Olympics are taking place from 23 July to 8 August 2021 BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS Photo by JASPER JACOBSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

Mollema trails Van Aert to take 4th (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Wout Van Aert (BEL - Jumbo - Visma) - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Respect between Van Aert and Pogacar beyond the line (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 Michal Kwiatkowski of Team Canada on arrival during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Kwiatkowski finished just outside the top 10 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Alberto Bettiol (ITA - EF Education - Nippo) - Joao Almeida (POR - Deceuninck - Quick-Step) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

The third group comes home (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 LR Silver medalist Wout van Aert of Team Belgium gold medalist Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador and bronze medalist Tadej Pogacar of Team Slovenia pose on the podium during the medal ceremony during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

The podium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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OYAMA JAPAN JULY 24 LR Silver medalist Wout van Aert of Team Belgium gold medalist Richard Carapaz of Team Ecuador and bronze medalist Tadej Pogacar of Team Slovenia pose on the podium during the medal ceremony during the Mens road race at the Fuji International Speedway on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 24 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Van Aert greets Pogacar on the podium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Bronze medallist Slovenias Tadej Pogacar celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

Pogacar cherishes his bronze medal (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma winner of the silver medal Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers winner of the gold medal and Slovenian Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates winner of the bronze medal pictured on the podium of the mens cycling road race on the second day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with finish at the Fuji Speedway in Gotenba Tokyo Japan on Saturday 24 July 2021 The postponed 2020 Summer Olympics are taking place from 23 July to 8 August 2021 BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS Photo by JASPER JACOBSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

Fist bumps between the medallists (Image credit: Getty Images)
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LR Silver medallist Belgiums Wout van Aert Gold medallist Ecuadors Richard Carapaz and bronze medallist Slovenias Tadej Pogacar celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the mens cycling road race of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama Japan on July 24 2021 Photo by Greg Baker AFP Photo by GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images

The podium ceremony (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - Olimpiadi Tokyo 2020 - Men's Road Race - Musashinonomori Park - Fuji Internetional Speedway 234 km - 24/07/2021 - Richard Carapaz (ECU - Ineos Grenadiers) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

Carapaz soaks up the applause (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Richard Carapaz brought home the gold medal for Ecuador in the men’s Olympic road race in Tokyo on Saturday in a pulsating finale that saw the climber drop his main rivals on the last two climbs. 

Carapaz made his first acceleration with 25km to go in response to a move from Brandon McNulty (USA) before dropping his breakaway companion and soloing to the win with 5.8km to go. 

Carapaz held onto his winning lead over the final finishing circuit on the Fuji Speedway to take the biggest one-day win of his career. The 2019 Giro d’Italia winner finished with more than enough time to soak up the applause from the home crowd after six hours of brutal racing in hot and humid conditions.

In the sprint for the silver and bronze medals, Wout van Aert (Belgium) narrowly held off the late charge from Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia).

As expected, much of the race came down to a battle on the all-important Mikuni Pass. Pogacar was the first major player to break free but he was joined by an elite group of contenders before McNulty took off with 25km to go.

The USA leader was joined by Carapaz and the pair quickly established a healthy lead over dived chase group. By the time a group that contained Van Aert, Pogacar, and Adam Yates finally began to mount a serious chase, the gap to the two leaders was almost a minute but a serious turn of pace from the heavily marked Van Aert saw the gap drop to just 15 seconds.

With McNulty starting to fade in the closing stages, Carapaz knew that it was now or never and on a short rise he kicked clear with one decisive acceleration that distanced his American ally. 

Back in the chase, and with McNulty swept up, the remaining riders were unable to find a cohesive rhythm, with attack after attack stifling their efforts. Those moments of hesitation were all that Carapaz needed to cement his place on the podium and a place in the history books with a gold medal for him and for Ecuador.

"It is incredible to see your flag as the top one, and to have this medal," said Carapaz, who became his country's second-ever Olympic champion after walker Jefferson Pérez in 1996.

"I simply waited for my moment. It was a bit of a crazy day, and a very hard race. I had to be patient as the selections were being made and wait for the right moment – that for me was the most complicated part."

How it unfolded

The cycling events at the Tokyo Olympic Games began with the men’s 234km road race on Saturday. The defending champion Greg Van Avermaet was on the front row at the start and the Belgian would play a pivotal role later in the race but the early stages of the action were dominated by a break that included Nic Dlamini (RSA), Michael Kukrle (CZE), Juraj Sagan (SVK), Polychronis Tzortzakis (GRE), Eduard-Michael Grosu (ROU), Aular Sanabria (VEN), Paul Daumont (BUR), and Elchin Asadov (AZE).

The move was allowed to establish a lead of over 19 minutes before squads from Belgium and most notably Slovenia began to usher a chase. 

There was a crash with just over 150km of racing remaining that took down several key riders, including Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Gregor Muehlberger and Giulio Ciccone, but it was the Welshman who came off worst of all, once again landing on same side that he crashed on during the Tour. He would later abandon the race.

With the chase from the peloton becoming steady over Mount Fuji, the gap to the leaders quickly began to drop, with Van Avermaet himself taking on huge pulls as the leaders saw their advantage cut to just 11 minutes with 100km to go.

Just 20km later and the gap had more than halved as the race took on an undulating 30km before the pivotal climb of the Mikuni Pass.

Mikuni Pass

The race into the final major climb had already sparked action, with the remaining three riders from the break – Kukrle, Tzortzakis, and Sanabria – all caught as Italy began to play their hand with a set of stinging attacks from Vincenzo Nibali, Damiano Caruso and Ciccone. Those moves were well marked by the Dutch, Belgians and Slovenians, while an attacked that included Nibali, Remco Evenepoel and Eddie Dunbar was quickly nullified with 49km remaining.

After passing through the Fuji Speedway circuit for the second time. the race hit the Mikuni Pass, with Tiesj Benoot setting a furious pace on the lower slopes. He reduced the leading group to less than 30 riders. with the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Italy’s earlier attacking trio all distanced. Kasper Asgreen, Luke Durbridge, Nicolas Roche and Nairo Quintana all fell by the wayside, too, as Primoz Roglic and Pogacar rode almost side by side up the lower slopes. Mauri Vansevenant took over after Benoot cracked, with less than 15 riders still in contention by the time he eventually peeled off.

It was Pogacar, though, who ignited the race properly with a stinging attack with 37.4km to go. Unlike at the Tour de France, he was unable to create major daylight between himself and his rivals, with Michael Woods and McNulty able to scamper across the gap. The trio established a 20-second lead, with Van Aert forced to take up the chase, with a group containing Alberto Bettiol, Adam Yates, Rigoberto Uran, Bauke Mollema, Jakob Fuglsang and Michal Kwiatkowski glued to his wheel. 

At that point, Carapaz had been slightly distanced but when the Pogacar group were caught with 33km to go, the rider from Ecuador was back in contention with George Bennett, McNulty, Max Shachmann, and David Gaudu creating an 11-rider split. 

With the climb over, the race turned into game of cat and mouse, with Mollema (29km to go) and Fuglsang (27km to go) both putting in moves. With 25km remaining, McNulty tried his luck and Carapaz was wise to the danger. At the Tour these two were foes but here in Tokyo allegiances were different and, with a gold medal on the line, the pair worked together.

Behind, Van Aert was constantly forced to lead the chase. The Belgian, who had paced himself brilliantly after being dropped on the Mikuni Pass, put in a huge turn of speed on the Kagosaka Pass – the last climb of the race – and he reduced the gap to just 14 seconds but, with several riders on his wheel, the race for gold was effectively down to the two riders out front.

Bettiol’s hopes ended with 14.8km to go due to cramp, while Gaudu, Woods and Uran put in final accelerations before the final sprint for silver.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) 6:05:26
2Wout van Aert (Belgium) 0:01:07
3Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia)
4Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
5Michael Woods (Canada)
6Brandon McNulty (USA)
7David Gaudu (France)
8Rigoberto Uran (Colombia)
9Adam Yates (Great Britain)
10Max Schachmann (Germany) 0:01:21
11Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) 0:01:35
12Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) 0:02:43
13Joao Almeida (Portugal) 0:03:38
14Alberto Bettiol (Italy)
15Dylan van Baarle (Netherlands)
16Daniel Martin (Ireland)
17Simon Yates (Great Britain)
18Patrick Konrad (Austria)
19Rafal Majka (Poland) 0:03:40
20Gianni Moscon (Italy) 0:03:42
21Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) 0:06:20
22Toms Skujins (Latvia)
23Gorka Izagirre (Spain)
24Damiano Caruso (Italy)
25Marc Hirschi (Switzerland)
26George Bennett (New Zealand)
27Guillaume Martin (France)
28Primoz Roglic (Slovenia)
29Emanuel Buchmann (Germany)
30Hermann Pernsteiner (Austria) 0:07:51
31Michael Schar (Switzerland)
32Pavel Sivakov (Russia)
33Krists Neilands (Latvia) 0:10:12
34Markus Hoelgaard (Norway)
35Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)
36Michael Kurkle (Czech Republic)
37Kevin Geniets (Luxembourg)
38Kenny Elissonde (France)
39Eder Frayre Moctezuma (Mexico)
40Stefan Kung (Switzerland)
41Nelson Oliveira (Portugal)
42Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
43Jan Polanc (Slovenia)
44Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)
45Esteban Chaves (Colombia)
46Tanel Kangert (Estonia)
47Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecuador)
48Richie Porte (Australia)
49Remco Evenepoel (Belgium)
50Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eritrea)
51Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands)
52Stefan De Bod (South Africa) 0:11:27
53Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)
54Nikias Arndt (Germany)
55Merhawi Kudus (Eritrea)
56Anatolii Budiak (Ukraine)
57Benoit Cosnefroy (France)
58Tiesj Benoot (Belgium)
59Aleksandr Vlasov (Russia)
60Giulio Ciccone (Italy)
61Tobias Foss (Norway)
62Jesus Herrada (Spain)
63Polychronis Tzortzakis (Greece) 0:16:20
64Muradjan Khalmuratov (Uzbekistan)
65Guillaume Boivin (Canada)
66Aleksandr Riabushenko (Belarus)
67Jan Tratnik (Slovenia)
68Andrey Amador (Costa Rica)
69Nairo Quintana (Colombia)
70Gregor Muhlberger (Austria)
71Lucas Hamilton (Australia)
72Luke Durbridge (Australia)
73Michel Ries (Luxembourg)
74Gino Mader (Switzerland)
75Nicolas Roche (Ireland)
76Edward Dunbar (Ireland)
77Mauri Vansevenant (Belgium)
78Michael Valgren (Denmark)
79Ion Izagirre (Spain)
80Lawson Craddock (USA)
81Sergio Higuita (Colombia)
82Tobias Johannessen (Norway) 0:19:46
83Andreas Leknessund (Norway)
84Nariyuki Masuda (Japan) 0:19:50
85Hugo Houle (Canada)
DNFEduardo Sepulveda (Argentina)
DNFVadim Pronskiy (Ukraine)
DNFAttila Valter (Hungary)
DNFRyan Gibbons (South Africa)
DNFNicholas Dlamini (South Africa)
DNFSanabria Aular (Venezuela)
DNFRemi Cavagna (France)
DNFJuraj Sagan (Slovakia)
DNFGeraint Thomas (Great Britain)
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Poland)
DNFIlnur Zakarin (Russia)
DNFPeeter Pruus (Estonia)
DNFZdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)
DNFJosip Rumac (Croatia)
DNFChristopher Juul-Jensen (Denmark)
DNFManuel Rodas (Guatemala)
DNFOmar Fraile (Spain)
DNFChristofer Jurado (Panama)
DNFGreg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
DNFLukas Kubis (Slovakia)
DNFAzzedine Lagab (Algeria)
DNFEduard Grosu (Romania)
DNFPaul Daumont (Burkina Faso)
DNFKasper Asgreen (Denmark)
DNFKai Feng Chun (Taipei)
DNFTao Geoghegan Hart (Great Britain)
DNFMohcine El Kouraji (Morocco)
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan)
DNFPatrick Bevin (New Zealand)
DNFSaeid Safarzadeh (Iran)
DNFYoeri Havik (Netherlands)
DNFFung Choy Hiu (Hong Kong)
DNFRoyner Navarro Calle (Peru)
DNFHamza Mansouri (Algeria)
DNFEvaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania)
DNFMoise Mugisha (Rwanda)
DNFTristan De Lange (Namibia)
DNFOnur Balkan (Turkey)
DNFAhmet Orken (Turkey)
DNFRuidong Wang (China)
DNFElchin Asadov (Azerbaijan)
DNSSimon Geschke (Germany)
DNSMichal Schlegel (Czech Republic)

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