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Van der Breggen wins gold in women's Olympic road race

Anna van der Breggen

Anna van der Breggen, by youkeys, Licence CC BY 2.0

Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands won gold in the women's Olympic road race on Sunday 7th August 2016.

The race came to the boil on the final climb of Vista Chinesa. Mara Abbott (USA) drove strongly on the front, with Annemiek van Vleuten (NL) on her wheel. They were chased by Elisa Longo Borghini, Anna van der Breggen, and Emma Johansson.

Van Vleuten lost her back wheel while descending from Vista Chinesa, and flew head over heels off her bike into the left hand kerb; Mara Abbott, descending more cautiously, passed her.

On the flat road back to the start/finish, the trio of Longo Borghini, van der Breggen, and Johansson tried to hunt Abbott down, while another small group containing Lizzie Armitstead was a little further back. 

Abbott was caught in the final 100m by the three chasers. Van der Breggen won the sprint, to take gold. Johansson took silver, and Longo Borghini won the bronze medal.

The BBC has a race report.

Van Avermaet wins gold in men's Olympic road race

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet, by Jérémy-Gunther-Heinz Jahnick, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Greg van Avermaet won gold in the men's Olympic road race on Saturday 6th August 2016.

There was an early 6-man break involving Michal Kwiatkowski, Jarlinson Pantano, Simon Geschke, Michael Albasini, Pavel Kochetkov, and Sven Erik Bystrom. It didn't survive to the end of the race.

A big battle on the final climb of Vista Chinesa saw Henao, Nibali, and Majka leading the way, and small groups of riders scattered along the road behind them.

Nibali and Henao both crashed on the final descent, leaving Majka to plough on alone. Geraint Thomas also crashed on the descent.

Majka took the flat road back to Fort Copacabana, pursued by a group, which included Greg van Avermaet and Jakob Fuglsang. The Belgian and the Dane caught Majka with 1.5km left. It was left to the three of them to fight it out for the medals.

Van Avermaet opened up the sprint, and took the victory and gold. Fuglsang chased him in vain, and took silver; Majka couldn't even muster a sprint, but wins the bronze medal.

The BBC has a video with highlights of the closing stages.

Olympic cycling road race 2016

Vista Chinesa, Rio

Vista Chinesa, Rio, by Joao Guilherme Soares Dias, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The 2016 Olympic cycling road races for men and women take place on a hilly course in Rio de Janeiro. The riders will be tested by climbs and cobbles on the Grumari circuit, and by a climb on the Vista Chinesa circuit. The races end with 17km of flat road to the finish line.

On Thursday 4th August, two of the Dutch team members, Wout Poels and Steven Kruijswijk, went training on the course. (Tom Dumoulin did his training on rollers, and Bauke Mollema took a rest day). Kruijswijk said, 'You've got cobbles, a stretch by the coast where it's very windy, and a lot of climbing.' Poels added, 'You can compare it to a hard mountain stage in the Tour. There's about 5,000 metres of climbing, and 240km distance. It'll be an attritional race. It's a beautiful course, certainly for us climbers.' Kruijswijk again: 'I think a lot of riders understand that this is a unique competition. The Olympic road race has certainly gone up in prestige.'

Olympic cycling road races 2016: schedule

Men's Olympic road race 2016: when is it?

Saturday 6th August, 1.30-8.15pm (UK time)

Women's Olympic road race 2016: when is it?

Sunday 7th August, 4.15-8.35pm (UK time)

Olympic cycling road race 2016: courses

Sugarloaf mountain

Flamengo Park, by Cyro Silva, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Men's Olympic road race 2016: course

This is a map of the Olympic road race course. The total distance for the men is 237.5km.

The riders were to start at Flamengo Park (changed to nearby Fort Copacabana), to the south of Rio de Janeiro, and head south along the Atlantic coast to Botafogo, then Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.


Copacabana, by Brian Snelson, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The route continues to Sao Conrado, then it heads west along avenue Lucio Costa, with the Atlantic to the riders' left, and the Lagoa de Marapendi lagoon to their right.

Lagoa de Marapendi

Lagoa de Marapendi, by Fulviusbsas, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Next, there's a loop called the Grumari circuit, in the Grumari Natural Park. It includes the Grumari climb (1.2km at an average gradient of 9%), and the Grota Funda climb (2.1km at an average gradient of 4.5%). There's also a 2km cobbled section. The men do four laps of the Grumari circuit.

This is a map of the Grumari circuit (which is ridden clockwise):

Map of Grumari circuit, part of the Olympic road race

After the Grumari circuit, the riders head back east along avenue Lucio Costa. When they get to Sao Conrado, they go inland on Estr. das Canoas, into the Tijuca National Park, to begin the Vista Chinesa Circuit. It involves an 8.9km climb, with a maximum gradient of 11.9%, followed by a 6km descent. 

This map shows the Vista Chinesa circuit (again, raced clockwise):

Map of Vista Chinesa circuit, part of 2016 Olympic road race course

According to the Rio Times, the Vista Chinesa is a Chinese bamboo structure at an altitude of 380m, in the Tijuca National Forest. People go up there by road for a breathtaking view. The structure dates back to 1903, when Chinese immigrants were brought in to help with tea growing. The tea produced was inferior to Asian teas, though, because of the low altitude. The surrounding Tijuca Forest was cleared for sugar and coffee plantations, but then replanted.

Bamboo structure, Vista Chinesa

Vista Chinesa, bamboo structure, by Halley Pacheco de Oliveira, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The men do three laps of the Vista Chinesa circuit.

After the Vista Chinesa circuit, there's a 17.3km flat run to the finish, back at Flamengo Park.

Women's Olympic road race 2016: course

The women tackle the same roads as the men, but they do two laps of the Grumari circuit, and one of the Vista Chinesa circuit, for a total distance of 136.9km.

Olympic cycling road race 2016: teams

Men's Olympic road race: teams

Ian Stannard

Ian Stannard, by Hedgehog Cycling

The British team for the Olympic road race is Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates, Steve Cummings, and Ian Stannard.

Altogether, 144 riders are due to take part. CyclingWeekly has a provisional start list. Simon Clarke, Rohan Dennis, and Richie Porte ride for Australia; Belgium has a strong team which includes Greg van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert, and Serge Pauwels; Esteban Chaves, Sergio Henao, and Jarlinson Pantano are all in the Colombian team; the French team is Julian Alaphilippe, Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet, and Alexis Vuillermoz; Dan Martin and Nicholas Roche ride for Ireland; Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru are both in the Italian team; Tom Dumoulin, Bauke Mollema, Steven Kruijswijk, and Wout Poels make up a fearsome Dutch team; and Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez are both in the Spain team.

Women's Olympic road race: teams

Lizzie Armitstead at the 2012 Olympics

Lizzie Armitstead at the 2012 Olympics, by Doug Shaw, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Britain's team is Emma Pooley, Nikki Harris, and - controversially, after overturning a ban relating to missed doping tests at the Court of Arbitration for Sport - Lizzie Armitstead.

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Tom Boonen wins RideLondon 2016

Tom Boonen at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2016

Tom Boonen at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2016, by JGH Jähnick, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The RideLondon 2016 Classic came down to a bunch sprint on The Mall, and it was won by Tom Boonen of Etixx Quick-Step. Read about Boonen wins RideLondon 2016.

Bauke Mollema targets Olympic road race

2nd August 2016

Bauke Mollema at the 2015 Tour de France team presentation

Bauke Mollema at the 2015 Tour team presentation, by bert de boer, Licence CC BY 2.0

Bauke Mollema got on the plane for Rio with a smile on his face, after a morale-boosting win at the Clásica San Sebastián on Saturday. He thinks the Rio course is similar to the Basque one-day Classic, and is looking forward to the race. Read about Bauke Mollema targets Olympic road race.

Copacabana beach Sugarloaf mountain from Flamengo ParkVista Chinesa

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