Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium pipped Jakob Fuglsang and Rafal Majka to victory in an absorbing men’s road race at Rio 2016, after Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao dramatically crashed out on the final descent.
Italy’s Nibali looked set to live up to his billing as the pre-race favorite when he pulled clear together with Henao and Majka in the closing stages of the 237.5km route.
However, both Nibali and Henao came to grief on the final descent, leaving Majka alone at the head of the field.
The Pole was then reeled in inside the final two kilometers and had to settle for bronze as the fast-finishing Van Avermaet – a two-time stage winner in the Tour de France – edged out Denmark’s Fuglsang to take gold.
Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas was another faller late on, although he was able to finish the race, two minutes and 29 seconds back in 11th.
Tour de France winner Chris Froome was a further place back, having been left behind by the decisive breakaway, which saw a host of riders reel in an initial lead group before forging ahead.
The first breakaway featured Jarlinson Pantano, Michael Albasini, Pavel Kochetkov, Simon Geschke, Sven Erik Bystrom and Michal Kwiatkowski, who were all out of contention by the business end of the event.
Australia’s Richie Porte suffered a nasty fall and was left clutching his right shoulder, but greater drama was to follow on the final loop of the Vista Chinesa Circuit as Nibali and Henao’s medal hopes came to an end.
Julian Alaphilippe (France), Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain), Fabio Aru (Italy), Louis Meintjes (South Africa) and Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan) were left as the only men within a minute of the medalists.
Prior to the race’s conclusion, a controlled explosion of a suspect package was carried out near the finish line as a precaution.