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Van Avermaet Triumphs for Gold at Rio 2016 Olympic Men’s Road Race – Full Results, Photos

by Gaelen Merritt
Greg van Avermaet wins gold  ©  Cor Vos
August 06, 2016 (Rio de Janeiro, BRA) – In what was deemed the hardest circuit race in Olympic history, Belgian hardman Greg van Avermaet (Belgium) claimed the biggest win of his career taking the gold in the men’s 237.5km road race over Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), who settled for silver, with Rafal Majka (Poland) capturing the bronze. Michael Woods was the top Canadian in 55th.

Final podium (l-r) Fuglsang, Van Avermaet, Majka  ©  Cor Vos

The 237.5 km race was comprised of four laps around a punchy circuit that included a two kilometer stretch of rough cobblestones and two short but steep climbs, followed by three circuits up and down the leg-breaking Vista Chinesa, which provided a parcours theoretically best suited to pure climbers. Team Canada earned three berths with Antoine Duchesne, Hugo Houle and Woods all making their Olympic debut while representing the red maple leaf.

Men's start...  ©  Cor Vos
Duchesne and Woods  ©  Cor Vos
A quality early break comprised of former world champ Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol), Simon Geshke (Germany), Svan Erik Bystrom (Norway), Michael Albasini (Switzerland), Jarlinson Pantano (Columbia), and Pavel Kochetkov (Russia) set off almost from kilometer 0.

Initial break...  ©  Cor Vos

After gaining nearly 7 minutes on the field, Great Britain’s rouleurs Ian Stannard and Stephen Cummings would bring the gap down to a more reasonable three minutes before the start of the Vista Chinesa circuits. Team Canada made a brief but noticeable appearance at the front of the peloton here as Houle and Duchesne guided Woods to an excellent position at the base of the first climb.

Canada's Duchesne, Houle and Woods near the front early on  ©
The five-strong Italian squad went to work on the first ascent, providing a launchpad for an attack by Damiano Caruso. Van Avermaet and Geraint Thomas (Gbr) followed Caruso’s move, and Rein Taaramae (Estonia), Sergio Henao (Col) and Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan) bridged across to this trio shortly thereafter.

The group of six quickly went to work to reel in the remnants of the early break, which by now had completely exploded with only Kwiatkowski and Kochetkov still alone out front – but they too would be caught. Spain, having missed the early move and subsequent attacks, burned off the last of their domestiques at the head of the peloton in an effort to bring team leaders Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez to a bridgeable distance the next time up the climb.

Nibali and Aru would soon make their move  ©  Cor Vos
By the summit of the second ascent of the Vista Chinesa the Caruso group had caught all of the early break, with only Kwiatkowski struggling on his own. Back in the peloton, the group was shredded down to ~30 riders and it was at this point Canada’s Woods lost contact.

Coming over the top of the Vista Chinesa teammates Nibali and Aru launched, with Majka (Poland), Yates (GBR), and Jakob Fugslang (Denmark) following. This group made the bridge to the front of the race, swelling the leading group to ~12 riders. Now with three teammates, the Italians took the reins heading into the final ascent.

On the final ascent, Nibali, Majka and Henao broke free and the trio headed onto the descent appearing to be the de facto medal winners. Behind, Julian Alaphillipe (France), Rodriguez, and Louis Meintjes (South Africa) managed to finally bridge across to the chasing group to try and battle for the medals.

Nibali and Henao go down as Majka gets through  ©
Then disaster suddenly struck for Nibali and Henao as the pair crashed hard on the final descent, dashing their medal hopes. This left Majka clear off the front with a ~30-second gap and 10 kilometers remaining. After working with the chasers to get the gap down to less than 20 seconds, Fugslang and Van Avermaet shrewdly attacked the chase group and bridged across to Majka, who was caught by the pair with less than 2km remaining.

Greg van Avermaet (Bel) attacks in the finishing straight  ©  Cor Vos
On paper, Van Avermaet was far and away the fastest of the trio, but it remained to be seen whether the Belgian could deliver in the finale after a long day in the saddle. But Van Avermaet left no doubt in the final 200 meters, winning gold by several bike lengths ahead of Fugslang who settled for silver with Majka happily taking the bronze.

Greg van Avermaet savours gold  ©  Cor Vos

Overall it was an exciting day of bike racing on a truly testing circuit, full of late-race crash drama, and a surprise, but extremely deserving winner. Canada’s best hope, Woods ,who was the only Canadian to finish, was left wanting more at his first Games.

Three Canucks battling  ©
“The Olympics are so crazy and it’s cool to be representing your country. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was 9 years old, maybe earlier. But I didn’t come to just participate and tick off a box. I really came to compete and was pretty gutted that I wasn’t able to get over that second climb. I was there, I was really excited but it all just suddenly came apart and I was disappointed in that,” said Woods post-race.

Still, the valiant effort by three top riders kept Canadian hopes alive and with a stint at the front gave fans even more to cheer for on the world’s stage. Next up is the women’s race on Sunday with more fireworks to come.


1. Greg van Avermaet (Belgium) 6:10:05
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)
3. Rafal Majka (Poland) 0:05
4. Julian Alaphilippe (France) 0:22
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)
6. Fabio Aru (Italy)
7. Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
8. Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan) 0:25
9. Tanel Kangert (Estonia) 1:47
10. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Portugal) 2:29
11. Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)
12. Christopher Froome (Great Britain) 2:58
13. Daniel Martin (Ireland)
14. Emanuel Buchmann (Germany)
15. Adam Yates (Great Britain) 3:03
16. Brent Bookwalter (United States Of America) 3:31
17. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
18. Kristijan Durasek (Croatia)
19. Sebastien Reichenbach (Switzerland)
20. Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)
21. Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Colombia) 3:34
22. Serge Pauwels (Belgium) 6:12
23. Alexis Vuillermoz (France)
24. Romain Bardet (France)
25. Simon Clarke (Australia)
26. Primo ~ Roglic (Slovenia) 9:38
27. Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)
28. Daryl Impey (South Africa)
29. Nicolas Roche (Ireland)
30. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spain)
31. Sergei Chernetski (Russian Federation)
32. Christopher Juul Jensen (Denmark)
33. George Bennett (New Zealand) 0:11:49
34. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
35. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania) 0:12:18
36. Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Portugal)
37. Eduardo Sepulveda (Argentina)
38. Pavel Kochetkov (Russian Federation)
39. Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands)
40. Damiano Caruso (Italy)
41. Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) 0:13:18
42. Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
43. Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea) 0:19:20
44. Georg Preidler (Austria) 0:19:37
45. Patrik Tybor (Slovakia) 0:20
46. Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia)
47. Anasse Ait El Abdia (Morocco)
48. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)
49. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)
50. Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway)
51. Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece)
52. Jan Polanc (Slovenia)
53. JosÈ Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Portugal)
54. Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (Costa Rica)
55. Michael Woods (Canada)    
56. Michal Golas (Poland)
57. Simon Spilak (Slovenia)
58. Petr Vakoc (Czech Republic)
59. Toms Skujins (Latvia)
60. Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark)
61. Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan)
62. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)
63. Alessandro De Marchi (Italy) 0:25
OTL Murilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil) 0:31:47
OTL Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania)
DNF Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain)
DNF Imanol Erviti (Spain)
DNF Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spain)
DNF Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Colombia)
DNF Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Colombia)
DNF Jarlinson Pantano Gomez (Colombia)
DNF Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)
DNF Warren Barguil (France)
DNF Stephen Cummings (Great Britain)
DNF Ian Stannard (Great Britain)
DNF Rohan Dennis (Australia)
DNF Scott Bowden (Australia)
DNF Richie Porte (Australia)
DNF Laurens De Plus (Belgium)
DNF Tim Wellens (Belgium)
DNF Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)
DNF Wout Poels (Netherlands)
DNF Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)
DNF Diego Rosa (Italy)
DNF Michael Albasini (Switzerland)
DNF Steve Morabito (Switzerland)
DNF Simon Geschke (Germany)
DNF Maximilian Levy (Germany)
DNF Tony Martin (Germany)
DNF Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
DNF Sven Erik Bystr¯m (Norway)
DNF Maciej Bodnar (Poland)
DNF Jan Barta (Czech Republic)
DNF Leopold Konig (Czech Republic)
DNF Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)
DNF Denys Kostyuk (Ukraine)
DNF Andriy Khripta (Ukraine)
DNF Matej Mohoric (Slovenia)
DNF Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Islamic Republic of Iran)
DNF Arvin Moazami Godarzi (Islamic Republic of Iran)
DNF Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (Islamic Republic of Iran)
DNF Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Portugal)
DNF Abderrahmane Mansouri (Algeria)
DNF Youcef Reguigui (Algeria)
DNF Stefan Denifl (Austria)
DNF Soufiane Haddi (Morocco)
DNF Mouhssine Lahsaini (Morocco)
DNF Taylor Phinney (United States Of America)
DNF Rein Taaramae (Estonia)
DNF Zac Williams (New Zealand)
DNF Antoine Duchesne (Canada)
DNF Hugo Houle (Canada)
DNF Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)
DNF Kohei Uchima (Japan)
DNF Okcheol Kim (Korea)
DNF Joonyong Seo (Korea)
DNF Jonathan Monsalve (Venezuela)
DNF Miguel Ubeto Aponte (Venezuela)
DNF Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
DNF Daniel Diaz (Argentina)
DNF Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Argentina)
DNF King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong, China)
DNF Jose Luis Rodriguez (Chile)
DNF Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwanda)
DNF Maxim Averin (Azerbaijan)
DNF Serghei Tvetcov (Romania)
DNF Luis Enrique Davila (Mexico)
DNF Onur Balkan (Turkey)
DNF Ahmet Orken (Turkey)
DNF Kleber Da Silva Ramos (Brazil)
DNF Ali Nouisri (Tunisia)
DNF Stefan Hristov (Bulgaria)
DNF Manuel Rodas Ochoa (Guatemala)
DNF Bayron Guama De La Cruz (Ecuador)
DNF Ivan Stevic (Serbia)
DNF Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Ethiopia)
DNF Diego Milan Jimenez (Dominican Republic)
DNF Dan Craven (Namibia)
DNF Oscar Soliz (Bolivia)
DNF Qendrim Guri KOS
DNF Brian Babilonia (Puerto Rico)
DNF Yousef Mirza Banihammad (United Arab Emirates)
DNF Ariya Phounsavath (Lao People’s Democratic Republic)
DNF Alexey Kurbatov (Russian Federation)

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