Hello folks and welcome to Cycling Weekly’s live coverage from the men’s road race at the Tokyo Olympics.
CW online news editor Alex Ballinger here guiding you through the last few hours of racing in Japan.
This is the first cycling event of the games and it’s set to be a good one.
Let’s take a look at the course:
Here is the route for the men’s road race. It’s a brutal 234km, featuring five categorised climbs
The action is expected to kick off on the Fuji Sanroku climb, almost 100km from tthe finish, so it should be an exciting race.
‘It could be one of the toughest races of our careers’
Read what Team GB riders Tao Geoghegan Hart and Simon Yates think of the race, click here
Riders have also been forced to pulled out of the event after testing positive for coronavirus, including Germany’s Simon Geschke.
Full story here
We’re fast approaching the sharp end of the race now, with 122km left to the finish.
There are currently five riders out front in the leading breakaway, all from smaller nations
That leading group consists of Nic Dlaminia (RSA), Juraj Sagan (Svk), Polychronis Tzortzakis (Gre), Michael Kurkle (Cze), and Orluis Auluar (Ven).
The Belgium and Slovenian teams are leafing the chase back in the bunch.
We don’t currently have any reliable time gaps, but we’ll update you as soon as we get them.
It’s been a ropey start for British fans unfortunately, as 50 per cent of the squad went down in a crash about 40km ago. Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart both fell, with Thomas being checked over the by medical car shortly after.
We’re now 10km away from the start of the biggest climb today, Fuji Sanroku, a 14.5km ascent with an average gradient of six per cent.
We’ve just had some shots of Thomas as he tries to rejoin the bunch. He’s looking banged up on his right side.
He’s now back in the tail end of the peloton
The five-rider breakaway has 14 minutes over the bunch.
Back in the peloton, Slovenia and Belgium are doing all the work in the chase, with reigning Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet demoted to chase duties in this year’s games.
Belgium and Slovenia are by far the favourites in this race, hence why they are doing all the work on the front of the peloton.
Due to the Olympic team selection policy, Slovenia has four riders while Belgium has the maximum team size of five.
Here are the squads:
Greg Van Avermaet
Wout Van Aert
The breakaway are now onto the longest climb of the day, as they ascent the slopes of Mount Fuji.
They lead by 13 minutes.
As expected the weather conditions are likely to be decisive in this race, as temperatures out on the course sit around 33 degrees celsius.
Slightly unexpected but New Zealand have come to the front to help with the chase as Patrick Bevin hits the front of the bunch.
The Kiwis only have two riders in this event, Bevin and George Bennett.
But Bennett has been picked out by some of the experts as a serous contender, as he always thrives in heat and humidity.
Jumbo-Visma gave him special dispensation to miss the Tour and concentrate on Tokyo. He told me: “It’s a genuine opportunity. The heat and humidity will cancel a lot of guys out, but that’s something I’m really good in and it doesn’t really affect me.” https://t.co/6hN9ugIUSyJuly 23, 2021
We’re seeing the first riders going out the back as the peloton hits Fuji Sanroku.
Yoeri Havik from the Netherlands is the first to go and more riders are following.
Patrick Bevin has finished his turn on the front and is also dropped, leaving George Bennett alone in this race.
Three more riders out the back – Christopher Robín Jurado (Panama), Mohcine El Kouraji (Morocco) and Manuel Rodas (Guatemala).
All three of these riders are the only representative from their countries in this race, so no medal for Panama, Morocco or Guatemala this year.
This is one of the stark differences in Olympic racing, as smaller nations go up against the biggest names in cycling for one day only.
Jan Tratnik from Slovenia still pulling on the front of the peloton, with Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet also helping to control the pace.
The five-rider break is now 11 minutes ahead.
A few riders in the peloton looking good and holding their positions near the front of the bunch. Tao Geoghegan Hart is in good position, as is Nicolas Roche for the Irish team.
Stefan Küng looking comfortable for Switzerland.
Van Avermaet is slipping back in the peloton. It shows the strength of this Belgian squad that the reigning Olympic champion is helping to chase the breakaway.
Belgium will be looking at either Remco Evenepoel or Wout van Aert as their chance at a medal today.
Van Avermaet is dropped!
A great ride from the Belgian legend, pulling on the bunch for most of the day.
Jan Tratnik is still leading the peloton for Slovenia with Tiesj Benoot now taking it up for Belgium.
100km to go, breakaway has 10 minutes.
The list of riders going out the back continues to grow, as Christopher Juul-Jensen (Denmark) and Peeter Pruus from Estonia have both gone now.
And yet Jan Tratnik continues to lead the peloton. This is a remarkable ride for the Slovenian, who has been in control of the pace almost all day so far.
Italy have shown their intentions, as Giulio Ciccone has moved to the front of the bunch and taken over the pace-setting and Jan Tratnik has finally cracked.
The peloton is 3km from the summit of the climb, 7-53 behind the breakaway.
Tao Geoghegan Hart still looking very good at the front of the bunch for Team GB, but meanwhile Geraint Thomas is right at the tail end of the bunch and looks like he’s really struggling.
The bunch is strung out as they approach the top of the climb, with another handful of riders dropped including both Japanese riders, Arashiro and Masuda.
Back at the front of the race, the five-rider breakaway is on the descent from Fuki Sanroku with 92km to the finish.
Reminder of who’s in the breakaway: Nic Dlaminia (RSA), Juraj Sagan (Svk), Polychronis Tzortzakis (Gre), Michael Kurkle (Cze), and Orluis Auluar (Ven).
They have just six minutes now as Ciccone continues to set a rapid pace in the bunch.
Alejandro Valverde is dropped!
This is a big shock as he was among the favourites, particularly after his strong performance in the Tour de France.
The Olympics had been the big goal for the Spaniard this year, so he’ll be devastated to be dropped so early.
A bit of action on the front of the bunch now.
Over the top of Fuji Sanroku everyone is now trying to move up, with Rigoberto Urán (Colombia) and Pavel Sivakov (Russia) hitting the front.
Tao Geoghegan Hart is still looking very very strong, holding the front of the bunch even after his crash earlier in the day.
That long descent from Fuji Sanroku has changed the dynamic of the race again, as plenty of the riders who were dropped on the climb have been able to get back in, including Alejandro Valverde.
The gap to the break is still falling rapidly as well, now down to four minutes with 71km to race.
The breakaway are now into the Fuji International Speedway for the first time as they will soon cross the finish line before heading back out for the final climbs.
All four Team GB riders are still in the peloton, but Simon and Adam Yates are quite a long way back, while Geraint Thomas is the last man in the main group.
Thomas looks like he’s really struggling after his crash earlier in the day. It’s been a rough few weeks for the Welshman after his crash in the first week of the Tour de France as well.
Analysis from Britain’s Alex Dowsett here as we head back out to towards the final climbs.
Last climb is going to be v interesting, if the pure climbers play the waiting game looking at each other they’ll play into WVA’s hands, they kind of need to work together. Little like trying to make things hard for track sprinters in a scratch race on the track #Tokyo2020July 24, 2021
Crash in the bunch for Jan Polanc (Slovenia) in the bunch. He was pushed wide and hit a barrier at the side of the road.
He’s okay however and after a bike change he’s back to pedalling and will rejoin the main group.
Geraint Thomas has abandoned!
And we have the first attacks in the peloton!
Giulio Ciccone (Italy) went first, followed by his team-mate Daminao Caruso.
But they were countered by the Dutchman Wilco Kelderman who was marked out by Mauri Vansevenant (Belgium).
Remco Evenpoel attacks!
Eddie Dunbar (Ireland) is there with the Belgium while Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) put in a huge effort to bridge across, they now have a modest gap on the bunch.
Meanwhile the breakaway has begun to collapse on the lumpy section here, as Dlamini and Sagan are both dropped.
The gap is now down to just 51 seconds so the break will be caught any time now.
Here’s the situation:
49km to finish
Breakaway – Kukrle, Tzortzzakiz, Aular
Chasers – Dunbar, Nibali, Evenpoel, at 48s
Peloton – at 51s
The Evenepoel group has been caught by the peloton with 48km to race and with that the breakaway is also done.
Peloton is together now with 48km left to race. Riders have crossed the finish line again and will now be heading back out towards the final climbs.
With the breakaway done for the day, it’s all calmed down a bit now.
Italy is leading the bunch with Vincenzo Nibali on the front, but Slovenia are moving up yet again.
Jan Tratnik has undoubtedly been man of the match today for Slovenia.
He has ridden just about every kilometre on the front today, apart from the brief moment he was dropped on Fuji Sanroku.
This is the big one!
We’re onto the most decisive climb of the day, Mikuni Pass with 40km to the line.
This climb is 6.8km long at 10 per cent average and it’s going to split the race to pieces.
Riders are falling out the back of the bunch now.
Tao Geoghegan Hart is among them, he’s finally dropped after a great ride.
Jan Tratnik has finally given up as well and is out the back,.
Belgium are now leading the group, but Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič are right there with them.
Still a good selection of nations holding on though, with the Netherlands and Denmark still in the mix.
Nibali is dropped along with Giulio Ciccone.
It looks like both Yates brothers are still in the group though which is a good sign. Still a chance of a medal for Team GB.
More riders dropped on this brutal climb – Tom Dumoulin (Ned), Alejandro Valverde (Esp) and Sergio Higuita (Col) all gone.
It looks like Remco Evenepoel has been dropped from the group!
Wout Van Aert is Belgium’s only hope now.
Tadej Pogačar attacks!
The Tour de France champion is looking super strong as always, he’s got a gap but Brandon McNulty for the USA is bridging across.
McNulty and Michael Woods (Canada) have both made it across to Pogačar.
These three look super composed and have a decent gap on the group behind.
Wout van Aert is leading the chase but it’s going to be tough for the Belgian to catch these three climbers.
36km to the finish.
The Pogačar group has 20 seconds over the chasers now.
Wout van Aert is still the strongest of those chasing, while Primož Roglič has lost contact. Adam Yates is still in the chasing group.
There are just 10 riders left in the chase, as McNulty, Pogačar and Woods continue to hold onto a very slim advantage.
Wout van Aert is still leading the chase and no one is able to help him.
Adam Yates is holding on to the group though.
This is absolutely brutal stuff.
Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) on the attack in the chasing group!
A few riders have stuck with him, including Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) and Alberto Bettiol (Italy).
Wout van Aert isn’t able to keep pace.
This is breathless stuff.
The Pogačar group have been caught by four chasers. We now have seven riders at the front of the race with 35km to race.
Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia)
Richard Carapaz (Ecuador)
Michał Kwiatkowski (Poland)
Brandon McNulty (USA)
Michael Woods (Canada)
Rigoberto Urán (Colombia)
It’s all come back together a bit at the front of the race, with 11 riders now together including Pogačar, Van Aert, McNulty and Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) who has just made it across.
Michael Woods has launched his attack!
It’s a big dig from the Canadian with Wout van Aert leading the chase yet again.
Adam Yates is not in the front of the race, but he’s not far behind and he might be able to bridge across on this short descent.
Woods has a very modest gap on this short descent, but we now have a plateau before the short final climb of the day, Kogasaka pass.
Adam Yates has made it back to the front of the race!
We now have 13 riders in the leading group, including Pogačar, Van Aert, Carapaz, McNulty, and Kwiatkowsi.
Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) has a slight gap on the rest, but Kwiatkowski and Pogačar have chased him down.
This leading group are all over the road and it’s going to get very tactical now.
McNulty attacks and Carapaz follows.
McNulty and Carapaz have a nice little advantage now over the chasing group, 15 seconds with 24km to race.
There’s been a few accelerations behind but if this chasing group don’t work together Carapaz and McNulty could just keep riding away with this.
Van Aert and Pogačar are still in that chasing group so everyone else is just looking at them to chase, which could be decisive in the the result.
Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogačar and Urán have accelerated but they’re not getting a gap.
McNulty and Carapaz have 26 seconds now.
Just 20km to go now and McNulty and Carapaz are continuing to extend their lead as they hit the descent from the Kogasaka Pass.
The leading duo have 33 seconds while the chasing group are refusing to work together.
The gap continues to go out! 41 seconds for McNulty and Carapaz now.
This chasing group are really not doing much to close down the leaders, it’s tense with 15km to go.
10 riders in the chasing group now, including Pogačar, Adam Yates, Wout Van Aert, and Jakob Fuglsang.
McNulty and Carapaz are on another steep ramp with 12km. 42 seconds gap.
Wout van Aert is smashing it now to try and close down the leaders.
Huge effort from Van Aert on that ramp as he knows this is his last chance to try and catch the leaders.
The Belgian looks for help from behind but no-one is willing to ride so he goes again.
Van Aert is going to have to do this on his own, as the gap is now down to 25 seconds.
The gap is down to 15 seconds!
Wout van Aert and the chasers could make the catch here, that would set up an absolutely thrilling finishing to this race.
But with 8.8km to the line these chasers cannot slow down.
McNulty and Carapaz working well together though, they’re both guaranteed a medal if they can make it to the line and that is going to be a huge motivation for them to ride.
Meanwhile behind, Van Aert is the favourite if the race comes down to a sprint so his rivals are not willing to help him.
Carapaz takes a look over his shoulder as the leaders are looking slightly worried by the chase.
But Van Aert is still the only rider really trying in in the group behind, as even Tadej Pogačar looks like he’s struggling.
Carapaz has attacked!
The Ecuadorian has dropped McNulty with 5.7km to go.
McNulty looks like he’s cracked.
We’re seeing attacks now from the chasing group as they’ve seen the weakness in McNulty.
5km to go and Carapaz leads, McNulty alone chasing behind, but the group are gaining quickly.
Carapaz has 30 seconds over the chasers, but the group behind have found their motivation again as Wout van Aert and Bauke Mollema are pushing hard.
Just 3km to go for Richard Carapaz. He’s digging deep but is looking solid, while the chasers continued to spread across the road and Van Aert is the only rider willing to work.
Carapaz extends his advantage! 40 seconds with 1.7km to go.
A huge solo victory for the Ecuadorian
The chasing group approach the finish now, eight riders fighting for just two medals.
Yates goes early, but Van Aert launches his sprint. Tadej Pogačar also put in a huge sprint, not sure who took silver and who took bronze there.
Van Aert takes silver!
What an effort from him to secure a medal, he did almost all of the work in the chase at the end, gave everything and came away with a medal.
Tadej Pogačard third.
Here are your medalists:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecuador), in 6-05-26
2. Wout van Aert (Belgium), at 1-07
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo), at same time
Adam Yates slipped back to ninth in that sprint.
Here is the top-10 after a thrilling finish:
Read our full race report here: Richard Carapaz storms to gold medal in Tokyo 2020 Olympics road race
Reaction coming through from the riders in Japan.
Geraint Thomas explains ‘freak crash’ at Tokyo Olympics men’s road race
You can read the full story here.
Wout van Aert was marked pretty heavily throughout, but says he is happy to have picked up the silver medal.
Wout van Aert happy with his own tactics as rivals mark him out en route to silver at Tokyo Olympics road race
You can read the full story here.
Analysis: Five talking points from the Tokyo Olympics men’s road race
You can read the full article here.
That’s all from our live coverage for today, see you tomorrow for the women’s road race!