Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) delivered a surprise by claiming the Olympic goal medal on the mountainous course in Rio di Janeiro after a huge drama that will go down in history. After Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao had crashed out of a front trio, the Belgian and Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) caught lone leader Rafal Majka (Poland) with less than 2km to go and then took an easy sprint win. Fuglsang won the silver medal while Majka had to settle for bronze.
We have gathered several reactions
Greg Van Avermaet: Everyone said that it was for everyone else
"I cannot believe,” Van Avermaet told Het Nieuwsblad. “Before the race I gave myself only five percent chance because I believed it was a course beyond my possibilities. I know I cannot climb like guys like Nibali and Valverde. To win, everything should fall into place at the right time and it happened today. Perhaps I was not the strongest man in the race, but that's the beauty of cycling. "
"Everybody wanted to win today. If you want to be Olympic champion, some are willing to go over the limit. But then you risk going too fast and miss a turn. Personally, I took a little risk, but not too much. If you crash and lie on the ground, the race is over.
“When I saw the crash I was confused about how many riders were still up the road. I was working with [Jakob] Fuglsang, and we saw [Rafal] Majka. We knew it was possible. I knew I had to hang on. I am so happy for gold.
“Everyone said all week it was for everyone else. I rode perfectly in the end. It was a chaotic finish, but everything went according to plan.
“I've seen a lot of riders lying on the ground. For this reason I decided not to take unnecessary risks and descend cautiously, which ultimately paid off.
”It is a very nice moment. In the past, very often I remained on the verge of victory, but this success is a compensation for all these failures.
"It's something unreal. In a career, you get two or three chances to become Olympic champion, proving how difficult it is. It is fantastic to be here on the podium in Copacabana. You are an Olympic champion for your life. It can’t be better than this, it's the highlight of my career.
"For a rider it is not easy to be selected because it means you're one of the five best riders of your country and that is something special. For my dad, Olympic selection the highlight. He's was even married in his Olympic jersey.”
Coach Kevin De Weert who was in charge of the Belgian team for the first time, added:
"I cannot believe that Greg is Olympic champion. It's incredible, unbelievable. Tonight we will have a party."
"Before the race we sat down together and we had planned that Greg and Phil (Gilbert) would try to anticipate the attacks. Tim (Wellens) and Serge (Pauwels) would wait for the final. We knew it would be difficult if the favourites put their strengths to the table, but with Tim (Wellens) a top eight was possible. Well, Tim had an off day but that can happen. We are not machines. Phil tried at the end of the first lap. Then, Greg took his chance as planned. I saw that he did a lot of work and then I noticed that Majka was 24 seconds ahead. I advised him to go for silver. But then he slipped away with Fuglsang
“Remember that his chances in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix went up in smoke because of a crash in De Ronde, two races he loves you very much. Now he has an Olympic title which is even better.”
Tim Wellens abandoned the race.
“At first it was a day to soon forget,” he said. “I felt really bad. I had a headache and stomach pain. At the end of the day I was really proud of Greg’s performance though. I’m really happy for him.”
Jakob Fuglsang: Everything can happen if you believe in it
”It was great and something I will always remember. It was a great experience,” Jakob Fuglsang told DR.
”The medal heavy. It is a serious medal. It is the largest I've ever gotten. Not only when you look at the size, but of course also when you look at the result.
I built the form especially for this day, and as expected I had good legs. It was a very tough race.
“It's a fantastic feeling but I need more time to fully realize the importance of this achievement. But now I know for sure that I will not feel defeated. I did not lose the fight for the gold medal, but I won silver.
”In the end I was on the wheel of Zeits. Then I looked back and saw Van Avermaet. I thought, ’Fuck it. To have any chance of success, I have to bring him along.’ So we went, and in the very end we managed to catch Majka.
“A bike race is not always predictable. A lot can happen and with a little luck and the good legs which I had, a lot can work out. As long as you believe in it and continue to fight for it, it will pay off.
“Sometimes it pays not to take risks. After the first climb I saw there was a bump on the road on the corner so I took it a little easier.
“I knew the medals were in play, and I looked back and no one was working so I attacked. I’m very happy to take a medal at these Olympics.
”It's definitely a team effort. Christopher [Juul] and Chris [Sørensen] took care of me until we hit the climbs, and Christopher was also in the front for a long time after we had hit the tough climbs and he could bring me water. I pretty much just had to say what I wanted, and then they made sure that I got it.
“There was a clear division of roles, so there was no doubt about anything. The plan worked out.
”I certainly have to watch this race again – and maybe not only once.”
Rafal Majka: I thought that I would go for gold
“I don’t know how I did not crash but somehow I made it through,” Rafal Majka said. “In the end I had such hard cramps in my legs I could barely pedal. When the others caught me I knew that it was impossible to win.
“To come here to win bronze makes me so happy. I cannot believe it.”
- When the rivals crashed, I had one thought: I'm going for gold. But those who were at the back turned out to be stronger in the end, because they hadn’t been offensive.
“It was a really tough race, but before the start I believed that the legs were good and I gave it everything on the climbs. I think it was evident that I kept pace with the best, like Vincenzo Nibali
“The descent was so fast that I don’t know how I avoided them when Nibali and Henao went down. We went at 80km/h and suddenly they were on the ground. Miraculously I slowed down and avoided them.I looked around and I was alone. Well, I had to go.
”It was very difficult, but with Michael [Kwiatkowski], I followed Nibali and Fabio Aru on the descent, and Michal worked nicely. We are a real team. I helped Michal at the world championships, he rewarded me at the Olympics. Thanks to the guys for what they did in this race, it's really something big. I wanted to just finish it off. I tried to solo for gold, although it was clear that I did not have the strength because I had so bad cramps. You had to take a chance.
”I rode away with Nibali and Henao on the climb. I could see that I deserve a medal, because all the best in the world were herem with the exception of Contador and Quintana.
“This is cycling: you can have a puncture five kilometers from the finish or lose the title of Olympic champion 500 meters before the finish line. There is no need to lament that someone crashed, we should be happy with a medal. I gave it everything. I do not remember when we last won a medal on the road. In 1988? Well, I was not even born. I am happy. It’s my first Olympics and I have a bronze medal.
“Some say Majka does not win the grand tours but my career is great. Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and now the Olympics. I think I can finish the season? “
Strong Michal Kwiatkowski: We did what we had planned
”We went for the win, Rafal can feel like a real champion, I think the bronze medal is a cool reward. It shows that we have a cool cycling summer. Today we were a great team, and Rafał was so motivated, so strong,” Michal Kwiatkowski told Sport.pl.
“Before the race and already during the race I said that I would like to attack. Rafal should attack on the penultimate climb, and I had to wait for him at the top. I know that I am a good descender so I could help him. Rafal had excellent support from Michael Golas and Maciej Bodnar and I controlled the situation in the front. And that's how things worked out.
“We focused everything on one card, on Rafal. I believed that I could get to the point where we had planned. I shouted to my massage therapists at the bottom of the climb that if Rafal attacked, he had to be vigilant at the top, so we could do the descent with Italy. The first circuit was very difficult technically. Also the second did not allow a margin of error. But then you take a chance. We did it with Rafal. I think I would be able to keep up with the best. But always in teams in which I have raced, we have worked for the strongest. And in the national team the strongest is Rafal Majka.”
Julian Alaphilippe: Fourth place is not a huge disappointment
Riding his first Olympics, Julian Alaphilippe finished in fourth place, after jumping from the group in the closing kilometers and going in pursuit of the three riders up front. Despite a valiant effort, the Frenchman couldn't catch them, but still had enough left in the tank to beat Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez for one of his best results of the season, which is even more remarkable considering Julian crashed on the final descent into a tree and hurt his right elbow.
"I don't have any regrets, because I did everything I could and spent every ounce of energy in this tough race. It was hectic and brutal, but overall I can say I've lived a great experience. I felt really good today and am content with my ride and the result I got", said Julian Alaphilippe, who displayed on Saturday all the traits necessary to become a huge champion, from heart and passion to grit and ambition.
"It's not the biggest disappointment of my career, but inevitably it leaves regrets. We did a great race. The group worked well together, everyone did his job, what was expected of him. I was right behind when Van Avermaet attacked because I had just made an effort, which is why I could not go with them and then I fell on the descent.
"I was good, I did not take too many risks but I did not remember that one of the last corners was so narrow. I had lesions on the thigh and elbow, but even if my bike was damaged, I could continue. I did not feel too much pain, and I could even get back to the group in the flat section leading to the finish. I was happy, I was doing a good race until this crash because I really had very good legs.
"I was able to attack in the final part of the last climb of China Vista. I did a big effort to get to the front group. And I was not sure who was where, how the race was because we did not have information as there was no radio. I even asked the staff of Team France what place I had got. I knew I was among the 10 best in the race but Vincent Jacquet and national coach Bernard Bourreau told me that I was fourth. When I joined the group in fact, only Majka was in front.”
Besides him, two other Etixx – Quick-Step riders completed the grueling event in Rio de Janeiro: Daniel Martin (13th), who equaled Ireland's best ever result in the Olympic road race, and Petr Vakoč (58th).
Romain Bardet: I worked for Alaphilippe
Romain Bardet said:
"I had stomach problems in recent days and over such a distance that does not give you much chance. It's a miracle that I arrived on the second circuit. It was the head, not the physique. I love the jersey and responsibilities I had. But I can tell you that when Froome dropped me, I had nothing left. I'm not disappointed because I gave everything I had. It's like this, we are not machines.
"These are strange race. It is not like the other races, we do not have the same feelings as in other races. I began to support Julian. Alexis and Warren did a good job. We must remember the state of mind of this young team, the sense of dedication to each other. When I saw that I was not great, I played the Julian card. Julian is a great champion and it's up to him in the future. He's always smiling, he gave the maximum today, and made a small error in the descent, but he was not the only one. You had to have a good tactical sense and be a good climber. It's an event that honored cycling.”
Joaquim Rodriguez retires immediately after fifth place in Rio
“I have always said that I would like to retire here, not for the reward but for the whole Olympic experience,” Joaquim Rodriguez said in a press release after announcing his immediate retirement.
“We knew that it would be difficult but not such a complicated one, with climbs, descents, pave, heat, humidity,” Rodriguez explained. “It was a shame because I had the legs for a medal, but when you give the maximum you don’t know if you can ask for more. I think that it wasn’t only me, but the whole team. Alejandro told me on the penultimate lap that he wasn’t going (well), and he gave me a helping hand after we had been left behind when Porte crashed.
Alejandro Valverde: I gave everything for Rodriguez
"It's a shame to have been so close,” Alejandro Valverde said. “We have been caught out by a crash and then we had to chase. I gave everything for Rodriguez. The heat made it a harder race than expected.”
Vincenzo Nibali breaks collarbone in Olympic Games crash
After he crashed out in the finale, Vincenzo Nibali was diagnosed with a double fracture in his left collarbone. The Italian has already returned to Italy where he will undergo an operation to fit plates to his collarbone.
"It's really a great disappointment," Italian coach Davide Cassani told RAI. "Especially for how they interpreted the race; for their selflessness, for their sacrifice and team spirit. They have achieved all that we promised and on a course like this. With these opponents, it was difficult. They were perfect.
“Vincenzo was sitting on the kerb in silence. Words served no purpose, we looked at each other a moment but he was silent. We didn’t say a word to each other, his morale was in tatters.
“We had ridden the perfect race, the lads were amazing but unfortunately a skid undid everything, it all went wrong.”
Rui Costa: Without all that bad luck, I could have done better
Rui Costa finished 10th.
“I can say that I am neither happy nor sad,” he wrote in his diary And the feeling is positive although I feel that with a little more luck I could have done better. The good part was that among 144 riders I made the top 10, did not crash and improved the result of the last edition. The bad part was everything else. Starting with the temperature which reached 33.ºC, high humidity. Then I had to change my bike. The second bike was not the same, making the race much more harder. I had to make a tremendous effort, without help, to get to the peloton. But the greatest misfortune of all was the decisive part of the race. On the descent of the penultimate lap there was a crash in front of me. I could avoid it but the group was split in two. The route was hard and this giant effort to get back was too much. The body was losing strength and I gave all that remained to the finish line. Without bad luck I would have done better, but luck is part of cycling and we just have to accept it.”
Froome, Thomas and Yates come up short in Olympic road race
A late crash for Geraint Thomas brought heartbreak for Team GB after a heroic performance in the men’s road race at the Rio Olympic Games.
The Welshman was in medal contention when he crashed to the ground with less than 15km to go of the 237.5km race, on the final descent of the Vista Chinesa circuit.
But in typical fashion, the Commonwealth Games champion got back on his bike to complete the race at Fort Copacabana.
Thomas ended the race in 11th, Chris Froome 12th and Adam Yates 15th.
Team GB men's road coach Rod Ellingworth said: “In general, great team work. The way the lads wanted to race was how they actually raced. It was just unfortunate about the crash at the end. When you think about how many riders crashed down there it was pretty mad.
"Looking at Geraint there he was proper, proper disappointed. He knew that was a proper gold medal chance.
“He is alright. He’s fallen heavy, he’s got plenty of skin off but he’s ok I think.
“The guys, until we hit the final circuit, rode the perfect race I think, and we had bad luck with Ian [Stannard] breaking his bike. There was lots of little crashes and punctures all the time, a few little issues.”
“Steve [Cummings] did a great job bringing the lads into that first climb. We wanted it to be hard, it was hard.
“G [Thomas] put himself in the bike race perfectly. Adam [Yates] came round really good, he had a really bad time at the beginning on that first circuit and then he rode himself in, so that was good.
”I knew from the test event that descent was perhaps going to be a deciding factor in the race and it was. You think about how many riders crashed down there it was pretty mad really.
“He [Froome] is ok, he rode well today. He climbed the last mountain, he left a lot of world class bike riders, favourites like Valverde, all the French guys couldn’t stay with him.
“I think in general his condition’s good; it’s about recovery now and looking after him and giving him the best chance in the time trial.”
Daniel Martin: It was the most difficult day of my career
Dan Martin finished 13th.
“It was the most difficult day on the bike I’ve had in my career,” he told CyclingWeekly. “It was just a brutal, brutal day.
“I was hoping to race for the medals, but I wasn’t on a super, super day. I was still in contention until the end, so I have to be satisfied. I just lacked that little bit on the final climb. It was a strange old race.”
Brent Bookwalter impresses in Olympic road race
Team USA’s Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, NC) had one of the best days of his career on Saturday, finishing 16th in the men’s road race as cycling competition got underway at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“Today put me through everything. I was really focused on just doing the best ride I could do today and being the best Brent Bookwalter there was, and on leaving it all out on the road, and I’m proud that I could do that,” he said afterwards.
Bookwalter crossed the line about three-and-a-half minutes later after winning a five-man sprint against Bauke Mollema (NED), Kristijan Durasek (CRO), Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI), and Frank Schleck (LUX).
“Before the race I was talking to Connie, Taylor Phinney’s mom, and I asked her what Olympic advice she had for me based on her own Olympic experience,” he said when asked about his end-of-race effort. “She said to race to the line because it’s the Olympics. It’s a one day race. That place is attached to your name for the rest of your life, and whether it’s the podium or sixth place, or 45th instead of 50th, you deserve to get every place out of that performance that you can. So I thought of that. I didn’t have the legs to be one group further up but I was able to take a breath and sprint at the end. I have no regrets. I won’t look back now and say I could have been 16th and instead was 21st. I know I really did the best I could.
“It is better than my worlds finish and really, it does not surprise me, I am content with it. It is a different feel here and the course was different than what we have had in the last few years at the world championships. Overall, I am encouraged that I am still progressing and finding new opportunities for myself. I am pushing myself to new limits. Today was one of those days and a big step in that process.
“It was definitely one of the more demanding and definitely dynamic one-day courses I have done. It really tested us in every way. The cobbles, the wind, the short climbs, the long climb. It had everything. Plus, the distance and six-and-a-half hours of riding. That is a full day of racing.
“Halfway through, I was still trying to kind of find my legs and just really stay on top of myself. I knew with the Tour de France in my legs that I was going to need a little more time to open up. I kept telling myself that I didn’t need to necessarily feel better. I just had to maintain. With the distance and depth of the race, it was going to be a race of attrition. I kept telling myself to stay strong. I had some tough moments mentally, but kept fighting back. Ultimately, I was proud with what I was able to leave out on the road and that was everything I had in me.
“The final time up the climb, the group wasn’t that big at that point. But there were some really good, explosive climbers still in there. Some of them kind of went for broke at the bottom. I didn’t have the acceleration and just rode my own pace all the way to the top. Then I was able to join up with another group on the downhill and rode in to the finish with them.
“I didn’t know what was happening the last 20 kilometers up the road. But I was very happy to see Greg with a big smile on his face and bringing home the gold medal back to the BMC Racing Team. It could not have happened to a more deserving guy. He has always been a great leader and a good influence on me. It is a great day for him.
“It was a cool environment – a unique combination of cycling fans and sport fans and just passionate Olympic spectators who were likely locals. I heard a lot of “GO USA” shouts from people who probably weren’t even Americans. Also a lot of shouts of my name. We raced from the urban streets to the coastline to the deep jungle and even over cobblestones and there were people all over the course who definitely made it a memorable experience.”
Bookwalter’s teammate in the road race, Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.), made the difficult decision to pull out of the brutal contest on the first of three long laps.
“It was a tough decision but I ultimately came to the conclusion that I’m here to try to win a medal in the time trial and I’m not here just for the Olympic experience,” Phinney said afterwards. “So the best thing that I could have done today was pull out of the race when I did.”
Both Phinney and Bookwalter will race the time trial on Wednesday.
Huge Dutch disappointment for Mollema, Poels and Kruijswijk in Olympic road race
Bauke Mollema was the best Dutchman in 17th.
"I had expected more of this. I did not feel very bad, but I did not have super legs. I'm just disappointed," he told NOS. “I tried to follow Froome, but that did not work and then it was done."
"The light suddenly went out for me,” Steven Kruijswijk explained to NOS. “I got cramps in the penultimate lap, and unfortunately, there is nothing we can do. I don’t say I was a favourite here at the Olympics, but I should have lasted longer in the final. It is very painful when you just being distanced from the wheels. For the team, this is a disappointing result."
Wout Poels crashed on the final climb and landed on his arm.
"The bloodied elbow is not too bad, but I have a lot of problems with my arm," Poels explained to NOS. "My arm should not be broken, but I need to get x-rays to be sure to check if there is nothing wrong.
"The first few laps on the cobblestones were still good. But then I felt on the climb that I was not at my best. I did not have the legs to be in front. I also had some problems with my breathing. The last few days here in Rio I felt good again. But on such a difficult course you should have a good day and I didn’t have that.”
"We had a chance to medal. Unfortunately, Wout, Bauke and Steven didn’t go how we expected,” Dutch coach Johan Lammerts told De Telegraaf. "The funny thing was that everyone felt fine. Wout reported that even in the discussion yesterday. He was, however, dropped early for a rider of his level.
"I think Bauke didn’t ride too badly. But it's frustrating to see that they didn’t compete for the medals. Considering how he rode last week, Bauke just had to sit there."
Sergio Henao suffers fractured iliac crest in Olympic crash
Sergio Henao suffered a fracture to his iliac crest and trauma to his thorax.
“He will not have complications,” Colombian doctor Juan Carlos Quiceno told newspaper El Tiempo. “It’s a fracture that is no major problem. It will hurt for around four weeks, but it’s not a joint it is near a tendon. It’s not a serious inconvenience. In around 15 days, when the pain begins to pass, he will be able to return to the bike.”
Broken shoulder takes Richie Porte out of Olympic contention
Australia’s pursuit of a second medal in Olympic men’s road race history were cruelled when Richie Porte crashed during the final stages in Copacabana .
With less than 40 kilometres remaining in the race, Tasmania’s Porte fell victim to the descent of the treacherous Vista Chinesa climb, just one of a number of punishing course elements which plagued riders throughout the brutal 237.5km battle.
Perfectly positioned in the main bunch of 40 riders, Porte’s dream was ended when he was unable to avoid a rider who crashed ahead of him. The same descent also ended the Olympic hopes of pre-race favourites Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) and also Geraint Thomas (GBR) shortly after.
“Macca, I don’t think I am in for the time trial,” were Porte’s first words to Australian Head Coach Brad McGee who was first on the scene. Porte was taken in an ambulance to a nearby hospital shortly after the crash. He later withdrew from the time trial after suffering a fractured right scapula (shoulder blade) when he crashed.
“He didn’t lose consciousness, he is good spirits but obviously in a lot of pain, but definitely there are a few breaks in there somewhere,” McGee said.
Bad luck followed Porte throughout the day, with two separate dropped chains coming as he negotiated tricky two-kilometre cobble section that lay at the foot of the first of the course’s two loops, the Grumari Circuit.
“We can’t have predicted what had happened thereafter, but he was definitely right where we wanted him,” added McGee. “He had already recovered from a couple of incidents, but he was in a good mindset, and the boys today did exactly what he needed.
“You have to take your hat off to him, not just today, but across the whole campaign, he has been in a really good place.
“He is a bloke that you would want to put a medal around his neck. He was there ready to shine. It is definitely disappointing, but we are not broken, he is definitely not broken, he will be back with his fighting spirit.”
Always the consulate team performer, Clarke was Australia’s lone finisher for the day in 25th position, six minutes behind Van Avermaet.
“It was as tough as what we predicted,” remarked Clarke. “It was a super race of attrition, as a team we were positioned perfectly before Richie had his mishap.
“The way Richie had been climbing of late at the Tour de France, I definitely think he would have been up there today.
“It is definitely an opportunity lost, but that is one-day racing. You can ride them so many times and just have bad luck.
“Unfortunately with the Olympics it only comes around every four years, but we stuck to the process, we had a good plan and everyone contributed so we need to come away proud of our performances.”
Rohan Dennis, who will line up in Wednesday’s time trial, and debutant Bowden who will contest the cross country mountain bike on the final day of competition, exited the race after setting Porte and Clarke up perfectly for Australia’s drive at a medal.
“With the resources we had, we rode the perfect race,” said Clarke. “Scott and Rohan did an amazing job early on the Grumari circuit to look after Richie, who had mechanical issues two out of the four laps on the cobblestones.
“It was vital to have Scott and Rohan supporting him there early, which enabled me to focus on getting ready to look after him on the second circuit.”
Clarke refused to play into any questions about the road surface, praising the Games organisers on the road quality.
“Look Rio did an awesome job, the roads were so smooth, we hardly saw any punctures which is an example of good road quality,” he said “The crash that happened, they were just going too fast. Quite often crashes are due to how riders choose to handle the course.
“Unfortunately, someone crashed in front of Richie and he had nowhere to go.
“It is important to ride within yourself, you don’t have to go down the descent at 70km/hour. You aren’t going to win a gold on the descent, but you certainly can lose it.”
Debutant Bowden was proud of his performance while on Olympic debut.
“For us, the one team hashtag that the AOC has been using, I really think we lived up to that today,” said Bowden, 21. “I think the process, the plan we had geared around Richie for the race, we did everything we could.
“For me it was unreal, expectations before this race, it was everything and more.”
The men’s and women’s individual time trial will be held on Wednesday 10 August. Australia has qualified two riders in each event, however Porte will not line up given the injuries sustained today.
“What we have seen from Rohan today, he was definitely in the zone and we look forward to that on Wednesday,” said McGee. “It was part of the plan not to run him too long today, he went to the maximum today that I would allow him and he gave it everything.
“And we look forward to him now putting all his energy into his individual time trial and we will do everything to help him get ready for that.”
Primoz Roglic confident for Olympic time trial after solid road race performance
Primoz Roglic finished 26th in the Olympic road race in Rio de Janeiro today. The Slovenian rider of Team LottoNL-Jumbo attacked in the final part of the race, but had to let the best riders go eventually. Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) won the race, the team's New Zealander George Bennett finished 33th, Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk took 39th.
“It was very hard,” Primoz Roglic said. “The profile was hard and it was hot. That made it selective race.
"I didn’t feel superb, so I attacked to anticipate. I felt the excitement in the peloton. It was different. Everyone knew that you only have one chance in four years to win an Olympic medal. This race is very important, it feels special.
“I spoke with George Bennett and Steven Kruijswijk before and during the race,” Roglic continued. “It’s strange to compete in different teams, but I think that we would have worked together when the situation asked for it.”
Roglic is focusing on Wednesday’s time trial now.
“I have the feeling that I have a chance at winning a medal, but it’s hard to say how big that chance will be,” he added. “I think that the level in this time trial will be the highest ever for me.”
Edvald Boasson Hagen: It was never a course for me
Edvald Boasson Hagen abandoned the race.
“I'll do the time trial in a few days, so it was better to save as much as possible,” he told Procycling.no.
“But obviously I'd rather have been there fighting. But when it was like it was, there was no point in pushing myself up the steep slopes more than necessary. There was a lot of lactic acid. I had no chance today.
“I never said that this course suited me well. And I've probably never said that I will fight for victory here.”
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