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"It is unbelievable that I can win the gold medal here. I have no words for that. To say goodbye with a gold medal at the end of the season is a perfect way to end my career. It was my last big time trial."

Photo: Trek-Segafredo
10.08.2016 @ 22:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) got the fairytale end to his Olympic career as he took a surprising gold medal in the time trial at the Rio Games with a dominant ride on the hilly 54.56km course. Gaining time over almost the entire distance, he beat pre-race favourites Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) and Chris Froome (Great Britain) by 47 seconds and 1.02 respectively to take his second first place in the time trial following his gold medal from Beijing eight years ago.

 

We have gathered a few reactions.

 

Fabian Cancellara: This is the perfect way to end my career

"It's pretty special, I still don't really have the words," Fabian Cancellara said. "After the disappointment in 2012, and many other up and downs that I've had, and this is my last season, it's my Olympic Games and my last chance to do something.

 

"I knew that it was going to be a tough day, a challenging one with Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin and all the others. It was an open course for all different characteristics. I have no words. Finishing, after 16 years, with the gold, it's not bad.

 

"We looked at it with the trainers and the team manager, we worked hard and even yesterday I had my doubts. I think it was good doubts. In the end, I found a way to focus on what I needed to do and this was not to go too fast at the beginning because over an hour, you have to balance everything right. I balanced if well in the first lap and I knew that I had to do that. I found a good key to go well over the whole day and now I'm just happy.

 

"It was my last chance to win an Olympic medal again. This victory does not change my decision to retire from cycling. It is unbelievable that I can win the gold medal here. I have no words for that. To say goodbye with a gold medal at the end of the season is a perfect way to end my career. It was my last big time trial. More than an hour of cycling alone is a long time. I had to keep some strength for the end. I am very proud of the way I rode today. "

 

Disappointed Tom Dumoulin: I came for gold

Tom Dumoulin won a time trial at the Tour de France last month and was optimistic of success, however, a crash in the final week of the Tour affected his preparations for the Olympics. The Dutchman stopped the clock at 1 hour 14 minutes 2 seconds for the 54.6km course, 47 seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland).

 

Tom Dumoulin said: “I wasn’t able to go 47 seconds faster. In the first lap, I was a bit cautious and I felt my wrist as well. I’ve mixed feelings about the outcome and I am mostly disappointed. I came for gold but on the other hand, I am proud of silver after this super stressful week.

 

"I'm disappointed, no other feeling. Everyone says I should be proud but now disappointment dominates. I just want to win.  When I see Cancellara with the gold medal, it is what I wanted.

 

"I'm very glad it's over. The last two and a half week were not really easy. But I have noticed that I am very good in the act of causing stress for such an event.

 

”But standing on the Olympic podium is something special, especially after my wrist injury I sustained at the Tour de France. When I see where I was a few weeks ago, I'm still happy with what I achieved today. I had a good chance to win gold, but it was not to be.”

 

Chris Froome: I can’t be disappointed with that

Chris Froome won Olympic bronze with a battling performance for Team GB in the time trial.

 

Tour de France winner Froome completed the 54.6km course in 1:13:17 to win Team GB’s first cycling medal of the 2016 Olympic Games.

 

"I can't be disappointed with that," Froome said.

 

"Of course, I would have loved to have been in with a chance for gold but I gave it everything I had today and at the end of the day I've got to be happy with that.

 

"Fabian was the clear winner, more than a minute ahead, if I'd lost by five or six seconds, maybe I'd be disappointed with myself but Fabian was clearly the strongest guy today.

 

"It's an amazing feeling, the year I've had, obviously with the third Tour win and to come here and medal again for the second time in the Olympics, it's an incredible feeling.

 

 "For me it is a great way to continue the season, after the Tour.

 

"Dumoulin also had a strong ride, especially after his injury in the Tour de France. It's amazing that he could go for the medals. He can’t be too disappointed with it. Fabian was the strongest. Silver is also special today."

 

"I knew the competition was going to be really tough here. Fabian is going extremely well. I'm happy. Another medal is an incredible achievement," he told told SkySport.

 

 

"It was a tough circuit, a tricky circuit, with all the steep climbs and wet corners. I'm just relieved it all over.

 

"I knew coming into the second lap that I had a bit of time to make up, which was playing to my tactic. I was trying to hold something back for that second lap, but I didn't have the legs. I didn't have the same legs as Fabian. He was definitely the strongest guy out there.

 

 

"I haven't done much training. Since the end of the Tour de France I have been sort of tapering and trying to look after myself to come into these Olympic races the best I can.

 

"It will be good to do a good long ride tomorrow before heading home to see the family. Obviously, I have been on the road a lot this year and I haven't spent much time with the family, so it will be nice to be home for a few days and see the little one a little bit."

 

Geraint Thomas: On Sunday I was eating McDonals

Geraint Thomas took ninth with a typically battling performance in 1:14:52. He was a late call-up for the race.

 

“It was a fight all day today,” Thomas told the BBC. “I just didn’t feel great. I gave it everything and it just wasn’t to be.

 

“I had a McDonalds with the road boys on Sunday but Usain Bolt has McDonalds, so I thought ‘why not?’.

 

“I found out half ten on Monday night, so it was a late call-up but there’s not much that I would have done differently.

 

“I got stuck in, and gave it everything, but it just wasn’t my day today.”

 

Castroviejo after another near-miss: I can’t talk about bad luck

As it was the case at the 2015 Worlds, Jonathan Castroviejo missed out on a medal by less than 5 seconds.

 

"I cannot talk about bad luck because I have not made any mistakes,” he said. “Maybe I didn’t take some risks on the descents because I have still the memory of the crash [in Algarve] and the course was in a bad condition. But I have to be happy because I'm back at my level, recovered one hundred percent, but I was close to a medal. After the year that I have had, I did no think that I would be at the Olympics [Castroviejo missed the first five months due to a bad crash in Algarve]. Being here makes me happy, because my goal was the top 5 and if I could be close to a medal, it was all the better. It is true that it makes you sad to be just four seconds away, almost the same as in Richmond, but there's no way to change it. That’s sport.

 

"It was very hard. We realized that five of us were close - or only four because Cancellara was gone. Everything was very tight and in the end it was not enough for the podium.”

 

"What counts in cycling is consistency, being there, fighting for victories, for medals. I hope that I can do it someday.”

 

Ion Izagirre: My sensations were not bad

Ion Izaguirre finished 9th.

 

"I was not one hundred percent. The sensations were not bad. My goal was top ten, even the top 5 and what I have achieved is a real prize because it was a very strong field and the time trial was very hard, especially with the wind.

 

"Castro has done an outstanding time trial and he deserved a medal. It was exciting until the end and someday he will succeed, I'm sure. After the hard year he had, he would have deserved the medal.”

 

Snapped handlebar derails Rohan Dennis

A snapped handlebar derailed Australia’s Rohan Dennis’ podium aspirations as he finished fifth in the individual road time trial, on a tricky course in Pontal on Wednesday.

 

Forced to make a bike change inside the final 10 kilometres of the 54km race while sitting in the silver medal position, Dennis regrouped and powered to the finish, but the loss of momentum cost him dearly and he finished just eight seconds shy of the podium.

 

“I can still be proud of how I rode,” said Dennis, who revealed that despite the midrace mishap, he never gave up hope of the podium.

 

“Even after until the mechanical, the change of bikes and still finishing off, I was thinking go hard, don’t give in.

 

“I was thinking that first was probably out of the question, but a medal at the Olympics is still up for grabs.

 

“These things happen, I can’t be too disappointed as it (the mechanical) is out of my control.”

 

Reigning national champion Dennis was the eighth-last rider from a field of 37 riders to roll from the start ramp to begin the first of two laps of the 29.86km circuit, with the scattered rain and wind that had featured in the earlier women’s race staying away throughout the men’s final.

 

A known fast starter in the race against the clock, Dennis trailed Cancellara by less than one second at the first time check after 10kms.

 

At the halfway mark, Dennis appeared perfectly positioned to claim just Australia’s second ever Olympic time trial medal as he clocked the fastest time by 15 seconds over pre-race favourite Dumoulin.

 

At check point three (34km), Cancellera had regained the lead by 18 seconds over Dennis, with Dennis holding an eight second advantage over Dumoulin.

 

However, disaster struck with Dennis forced into a bike change after snapping a handlebar.

 

Despite team officials swiftly providing Dennis with a new ride, the loss of momentum resulted in a considerable time loss for Dennis and he dropped to fourth overall after the 44km mark, 52 seconds in arrears of Cancellara.

 

On the new bike, Dennis powered home to stop the clock in 1:10.24 - the second fastest of the day to that point.

 

However it wasn’t quite enough, with Cancellara, Dumoulin and Froome edging Dennis off the podium and into fifth as they completed their run on the course.

 

“Physically I felt really good, maybe I went out a little bit hard, but you have to throw it all out there and see how it goes,” said Dennis.

 

“If I didn’t crack in the last third or the last quarter or without the mechanical, I would have been cheering and saying it was a perfect day.

 

“Gold was definitely the number one goal, I wasn’t thinking of second or third at all.

 

“But once I got the mechanical, it was all about a medal. I was just thinking medal, medal, medal.

 

“Podium is still very respectable and I would have been very proud of that.”

 

Today’s incident came as Dennis was adjusting his body position, with the handlebar extension snapping under the force applied by Dennis as he drove towards an Olympic podium.

 

“I heard a little crack, it didn’t sound great,” explained Dennis, who refused to lay any blame for the mishap.

 

“A lot of factors are involved, when you’re pulling that hard on the handlebars trying to get everything out of it, a few bumps it is the perfect combination and it just cracked it.

 

“It just snapped and I thought I guess I have to change bikes.

 

“I initially I thought ‘can I finish with this bike’, can I just hold it, and get through up this climb and maybe change at the top. And I realised no, I am not going to be able to do it.”

 

Dennis also suffered a similar fate at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships when a mid-race puncture while in medal contention saw him finish sixth overall.

 

This was following a superb 2015 season which saw him become just the seventh Australian to wear the yellow jersey at a Tour de France after posting a Tour record in the individual time trial.

 

“You have to take the good with the bad and I think maybe every now and then I have a bad run with a few little things,” he said.

 

“Today is still not a bad day, but luck will turn around on my side sooner or later.”

 

In another great show of sportsmanship from Dennis, he praised the retiring Cancellara on his performance.

 

“Hats off, he is an impressive rider,” Dennis remarked.

 

“He is a real champion, you can’t take this away from him. He rode exceptionally, was perfectly paced today.”

 

Australia now boasts four top-six finishes in the event at the last four Games, including Michael Rogers’ bronze. 

 

Primoz Roglic: More than a top 10 was not realistic

Primoz Roglic time trialled to 10th today in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Slovenian covered 54.6 kilometres 2 minutes and 40 seconds slower than gold medalist Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland).

 

“I can be satisfied with this,” Roglic said. “I did my best and I’m happy with this 10th place.

"It was a long, tough time trial. I don’t have much experience in time trials of this length. I trained hard for this and I have to honest, more than this top-10 spot would've been a dream come true, but not a realistic goal.

 

"These Olympic Games were a beautiful experience and I really enjoyed them.”

 

Tony Martin: This is not what you would expect from me

Tony Martin could only manage 12th.

 

"I did not find my rhythm. That was not the performance that you expect from me,” he said according to radsport-news.com. “The course was made for everybody as you can see from Cancellara’s victory. I'll have to analyze the race very closely to find the causes of the poor performance. At the moment, I am hugely disappointed.”

 

His compatriot Simon Geschke was thirteenth.

 

"It went very well for me. I was in control and safe on the descents. I was frozen while I sat in the hot seat. But afterwards I have enjoyed every minute. It was the first time I sat in the 'hot seat' and then it was even at the Olympics.”

 

Taylor Phinney: I am motivated to continue to grow over the next four years

Taylor Phinney and Brent Bookwalter were 22nd  and 23rd for the USA in the men’s time trial as the road cycling portion of the Olympic Games concluded on Wednesday.
 
Bookwalter suffered a tough crash early in his race, but got back up and gave it his all on the wet course to cross the line with a time of 1:17.57, five minutes and 42 seconds off of Cancellara’s winning pace.
 
“It was a real tough hit right off the start, one of those things that just happens when we’re riding that edge. I went through that corner visually in my mind a bunch, went through it yesterday and thought I had it down but it was a little different in reality today with the wet. I lost my front wheel so I hit pretty hard,” Bookwalter explained. “I basically just got up, made sure I was OK, and tried to restart my race and still do the race the best I could. If it was any other race I might have just given up or said enough is enough, but it’s the Olympics and I have the USA on my back.”
 
Phinney finished five minutes and ten seconds off the winning pace for 22nd place.
  

“I am happy with how my left leg felt. I didn’t even think of it at all as something that was impeding my performance today which was a beautiful thing, something I haven’t been able to feel for a long time,” Phinney said. “I am motivated to do what I can over the next four years to continue to grow.”
 
The men’s time trial was the final event for Team USA’s road cycling team. Earlier on Wednesday, Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho) earned her third straight Olympic gold medal in the time trial and on Sunday, Mara Abbott (Boulder, Colo.) barely missed the podium with a fourth-place result in the women’s road race.

 

Disappointing time trial for sick Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe finished 32nd of 25 starters.

 

"He was ill during the race,” said coach Bernard Borreau, “and vomited three times. Today it was not the Julian that we know. He has complained of stomach pains for several days, yesterday he stayed in bed for most of the day. He also still suffers from his crash in the road race. It's hard for him. "

 

Mechanical sets Alexis Vuillermoz back in Olympic time trial

Alexis Vuillermoz was 29th.

 

"I think I had a good average power, after I was hampered by a mechanical problem. My brake pads touched my rear wheel. I heard a noise, and when you do 400 watts and is overtaken by other riders, it is very frustrating. And getting back 30 to 40 seconds on this type of climb by having such power is really annoying. This is also partly my own fault. I should have checked it before the start. We changed bikes at the last minute. We had opted for the TT bike but with the rain, I chose the road bike with an extension.  I was more comfortable on the bike. I went into it so fast but it is useless to do so. It is the Games, with the jersey of the France on the back. I will not abandon a race like this.

 

“It was a hard circuit with steep climbs and I prefer this instead of the long stretches where I lose time. I will not put the blame on that, or on the climbs. I was focused throughout my time trial. I did the same time on both laps so I did a regular effort. I didn’t manage it badly. It’s just the result that is bad.

 

"Today the frustration dominates, but I'm really pleased with my road race. This was not evident in terms of results, but I have done the job and I was still present in the final, with Romain to make a tempo in the finale. Earlier I had done a tremendous job. I delivered a big performance, and I think it was the jersey of the French squad that allowed me to do it, too. It is satisfying to see that I was present. I think I was performing well here in Rio in the road race.

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