BELGIAN GREG VAN AVERMAET SNATCHED A DRAMATIC GOLD MEDAL IN THE MEN’S OLYMPIC ROAD RACE, OUTSPRINTING DENMARK’S JAKOB FUGLSANG ALONGSIDE THE COPACABANA BEACH AFTER A SPECTACULAR DAY OF RACING ON THE OPENING DAY OF RIO 2016.
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali looked primed to win gold but crashed heavily on the final descent of the 237.5km route, leaving Poland’s Rafal Majka out on his own. Majka tried valiantly to hold on but with victory in sight he was caught less than two kilometres from the finish line by Van Avermaet and Fuglsang.
Fuglsang was equally happy to claim silver. “It was a crazy race. A good race to watch,” he said. “He (van Avermaet) was willing to work (in catching Majka) because he knows he’s stronger than me in the sprint,” he said.
A race full of sub-plots, crashes and mechanical problems proved disappointing for Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who could not join the leaders on the final climb and never featured in the medal hunt.