Rio Olympics 2016: Chris Froome wins bronze in men’s time trial

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Highlights: Froome wins Rio time trial bronze

Great Britain’s Chris Froome took bronze in the Olympic men’s individual time trial, which was won by Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara.

Three-time Tour de France champion Froome struggled early on but made up time in the latter stages to finish one minute 2.12 seconds behind Cancellara.

The Swiss came home in one hour 12 minutes 15.42 seconds, 47.41 seconds ahead of silver medallist Tom Dumoulin.

Britain’s Geraint Thomas finished ninth on the wet-dry 54.6km course.

Froome’s bronze means Team GB have now won seven medals at the Rio Games, with hopes of further success on Wednesday in gymnastics, shooting, rugby sevens, tennis and more.

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Life’s a beach: At least, it’s about to be for Cancellara, who retires from cycling at the end of the season

He who dares…

Hit by heavy rain showers throughout the race, riders were at risk of sliding off their bikes on the downhill sections of the tricky, jungle-lined Rio course, which was the scene of some serious crashes in the previous weekend’s road races.

Cancellara, 35, appeared to descend on the wet, downhill sections faster than pre-race favourites Froome and Dumoulin, giving him a sizeable advantage.

By the 32km checkpoint, Froome’s hopes of gold had all but evaporated and he was also seven seconds adrift of third-placed Australian Rohan Dennis.

However, Dennis broke a handlebar in the closing stages, which required a change of bike.

That gave Froome a chance and he took advantage with a strong finish over the last 10km.

Froome said he performed to his best on the course, located on Rio’s southern coast.

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Kenya-born Froome, 31, is considered a time-trial specialist within cycling, and has won many times at the discipline

“I can’t be disappointed,” he told BBC Sport. “I’d love to have been in with a chance of gold. I gave it everything I had.

“Fabian was the clear winner. If I had lost by five or six seconds I would have been disappointed myself. Fabian was the strongest guy.

“I tried to hold back a little bit for the last lap knowing how hard the course was but I didn’t have any more.”

Analysis

Olympic track cycling champion Chris Boardman

“If you ask people in any other sport how long you can maintain peak form for, you’re probably going to get an answer of a couple of weeks.

“To come to Rio and win this time trial after the exertions of the Tour de France, you’re asking for top form for more like two months.

“It was a good course for Froome, but he can be happy with a bronze in my opinion.

“Thomas was thrown in at the last minute, and he can be proud of his performance. He got stuck in.”

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Cancellara won the time trial at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and several of cycling’s ‘classics’ races

What the others said

Thomas, who had finished 11th in the road race after crashing near the finish, said: “I got stuck in but it wasn’t my day.

“The disappointment of my road race crash overwhelms everything else, but it’s an amazing experience to represent Team GB at the Olympics.

“I can be proud that we gave it everything.”

Cancellara, seventh behind gold medallist Bradley Wiggins four years ago, said: “It is pretty special.

“After the 2012 disappointment and many other ups and downs, now in my last season, my last chance, I knew it would be challenging with Froome and all others.

“To finish with another gold it is not bad.”

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Three-time Tour de France champion Froome also won bronze in the time trial at London 2012

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A wet Rio is a far cry from four years ago, when then Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins stormed to the men’s time trial gold at London 2012 in glorious sunshine

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(Left to right) Tom Dumoulin, Fabian Cancellara and Chris Froome receive their medals

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Riders struggled on the wet course in unfamiliar surroundings

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/37037338

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