Chris Froome wins time trial bronze as Fabian Cancellara storms to Rio 2016 gold

Froome wins Britain's first cycling medal of Rio 2016 Olympic Games as Fabian Cancellara signs off in style

Chris Froome won Great Britain’s first cycling medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, taking bronze in the time trial, as Fabian Cancellara stormed to victory.

The Swiss rider was in a league of his own, making up time at the start of the second circuit to set the pace at the third time check and extending his lead through to the finish line.

It meant a second Olympic gold medal for Spartacus, after his time trial win in 2008, with Dutchman Tom Dumoulin claiming silver just weeks after breaking his wrist at the Tour de France.

Froome finished third, meanwhile, as the last rider to cross the line. The Briton was just behind Cancellara’s time at the second time check, but after his exertions winning the Tour de France, Froome settled for second – which he snatched by just four seconds.

Fabian Cancellara turned back the clock to power to Olympic time trial gold in Rio (Pic: Sirotti)

Though the rain which had battered the women’s race had eased when the men started, Brent Bookwalter crashed very early on – sliding out on the first cobbled corner after touching his brakes.

It left the American with a damaged skinsuit and some hurt pride, but he remounted to get underway for a second time.

Russia’s Pavel Kochetkov suffered a drop chain, meanwhile, while Alexis Vuillermoz was unhappy with his rear brake as mechanical misfortune hit several of the early starters.

The very first man off the slope had been Namibia’s Dan Craven – one of the late additions to the race – but without his time trial bike, or aero kit, or even tri bars it was never going to be a fast time.

Indeed, Craven was not the first man to set the clubhouse score – that honour going to Iran’s Mizbani Irnargh with a mark of 1.21.39.

More than six minutes had been shaved off that time by the time the main contenders were underway, however – Leopold Konig earning a stint in the hot seat with an effort of 1.15.23.

Geraint Thomas was the first of the two Brits to get underway, and immediately set about setting the fastest time at the first time check.

Froome, meanwhile – the last man on the road – set his stall out immediately with a hugely aggressive ride.

The course was expected to favour the climbers over the pure time triallists, but both 2008 gold medal winner Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Australia’s Rohan Dennis set a good pace over the first of the two circuits.

Dennis’ time was the one to beat, comfortably eating into Konig’s comparative splits on the road, with Tom Dumoulin proving he was in contention despite the fractured wrist by going second at the second time check.

Froome was fifth, 25 seconds down at that point, while Thomas was another four seconds further back in sixth but the Welshman was increasingly losing ground.

Great Britain’s Chris Froome battled to bronze (Pic: Sirotti)

While Thomas faded, however, Cancellara came into his own – putting the power down between the second and third time check and climbing well too to make up 40 seconds on Dennis and take an 18-second provisional lead.

Froome and Dumoulin both gained time on Dennis too – the Australian requiring a bike change after his tri bar snapped to further hinder his efforts – but Cancellara pulled away at the provisional time checks.

Thomas was first of the second wave of riders to set a new mark, with a time of 1.14.52, but Jonathan Castroviejo – who caught and passed both Julian Alaphilippe and Primoz Roglic, went even faster.

Castroviejo’s mark of 1.13.21 earned him a long stint in the hot seat but all eyes were on the road, on Cancellara, Dennis, Froome and Dumoulin.

Dumoulin – who caught and passed world champion Vasil Kiryienka – was 32 seconds behind Cancellara at the top of the final climb, the Grota Funda, while Froome was third, ten seconds faster than Dennis.

The podium: Fabian Cancellara (gold), Tom Dumoulin (silver), Chris Froome (bronze) (Pic: Sirotti)

Dennis could not beat Castroviejo’s time at the finish line, the bike change clearly having hampered the Australian, but Cancellara had no such issues.

The Swiss rider powered on through the final, flat few kilometres to finish in 1.12.15 – more than a minute quicker than Castroviejo.

Dumoulin finished in 1.13.02 – nearly catching Tony Martin too – to claim silver, and Froome was the final rider home, just seconds faster than Castroviejo.

Cancellara, in tears as the result was confirmed, celebrated his second gold medal while Dumoulin lay flat on the floor after his exertions – just weeks after breaking his wrist.

Froome, meanwhile, looked to be on the brink of being sick but can reflect on his second Olympic bronze medal – Britain’s first cycling medal of the 2016 Games.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games: men’s time trial – result

1) Fabian Cancellara – Switzerland – 1.12.15hrs
2) Tom Dumoulin – Netherlands +47”
3) Chris Froome – Great Britain +1.02
4) Jonathan Castroviejo – Spain +1.06
5) Rohan Dennis – Australia +1.10
6) Maciej Bodnar – Poland +1.50
7) Nelson Oliveira – Portugal +2.00
8) Ion Izagirre – Spain +2.06
9) Geraint Thomas – Great Britain +2.37
10) Primoz Roglic – Slovenia +2.40

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