Richard Carapaz secures spectacular gold in men's cycling road race

The Ecuadorian rider broke away with six kilometres left of the 234km-long race to win in 6:05.26. Belgium's Wout van Aert took silver with Slovenia's back-to-back Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar winning bronze. 

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz has won the cycling men's road race in spectacular fashion to be crowned Olympic champion. With 25 kilometres to go the new gold medallist raced to the front along with the USA's Brandon McNulty, with the two leaders putting more than 30 seconds between themselves and the first chase group. However, with six kilometres left Carapaz seized his chance, breaking away from a tiring McNulty on an uphill climb before storming to victory as the race came to an end on the former Formula 1 track, the Fuji International Speedway.

Second place went to Belgium's Wout van Aert who won a sprint finish to pip double Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar to the bronze medal.

Carapaz, who became the first Ecuadorian rider ever to win the Giro d'Italia in 2019, won the race by one minute and seven seconds, the competition failing to live with him in the closing stages.

As he looked over his shoulder on the finishing straight, no other rider was close and he crossed the line to become Ecuador's second-ever Olympic gold medallist.

Behind Carapaz, a group of riders battled for the silver and bronze medals, with Van Aert - a pre-race favourite due to his versatility as a rider - and 22-year-old Pogačar finely poised to take the sprint finish to the final metres of the race. In the end, it was Van Aert who secured the silver medal, beating out Pogačar by the slimmest of margins in a photo finish.

After the race, Carapaz spoke with pride about winning the gold medal: “The truth is it is an incredible moment that words can’t describe," he said, before adding: “To my country, the truth is you have to believe, no? I have worked so hard to get here. I’m here, I’m enjoying — it’s something so big for me. And simply thank you for the support which truthfully really helped me get here.”

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