Olympic Race Report: At the end of a nail-biting race, Primož Roglič took gold in the individual time trial at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. After 44.2 kilometres on a hilly course around the Fuji Speedway circuit, he was the fastest after a terrific battle. Tom Dumoulin, who returned from a temporary break from cycling especially for the Games, grabbed the silver medal behind the Slovenian. Rohan Dennis secured the bronze.
A dominating ride from Primož Roglič
The men’s TT course: The time trial starts and finishes on the Fuji Speedway race circuit. The circuit is 22.1 kilometres two laps for the men for a total of 44.2 kilometres with 846 metres of climbing. After 2.7 kilometres, the route exits the circuit and goes to the Shizuoka Road 151. Over 5.4 kilometres, the route climbs 221 metres on almost straight roads with an average gradient of 4%. The riders turn off the ‘151’ and onto a narrow, winding road. The loop is 10.3 kilometres to the top of the climb. Via the Fuji Oyama Golf Club, a two-lane road descends back to the Fuji Speedway, which is re-entered after 15.5 kilometres. Because the circuit is on a plateau, there is a climb of 2 kilometres at 4.5%. The 4,563 kilometre race track has sixteen bends and after the pit area comes the finish line after 22.1 kilometres.
6th place for Wout van Aert
The first fast time was set by Hugo Houle with 57:56. The Canadian was the fastest rider of the first block and with that time, putting pressure on Remco Evenepoel, Alberto Bettiol and Rigoberto Urán.
Bronze medal for Rohan Dennis
The second block over the hilly course, Evenepoel and Urán managed to put time into Houle. The Belgian talent set a final time of 57:21. Urán had a big lead on Evenepoel on the course, but he slowed in the final kilometres, but still came in 3 seconds below Evenepoel’s time: 57:18.
So close for Stefan Küng
The big favourites started in the third and final block. Tom Dumoulin was the first to set a new top time at the first intermediate point, but Primoz Roglič was 2 seconds faster. Other favourites such as Rohan Dennis, Rémi Cavagna, Stefan Küng, Geraint Thomas and Kasper Asgreen were behind after 9 kilometres. Wout van Aert also lost time, he followed 4 seconds from Roglič. The only one who was faster than the Slovenian was Filippo Ganna, albeit by only 59 hundredths of a second. The top 7 were within 10 seconds of each other, showing how close the world’s best time trialists were.
A great return for Tom Dumoulin
After a full lap of 22.1 kilometres Primož Roglič was the fastest. But even there the differences were small. Successively Dumoulin, Ganna, Dennis, Van Aert and Küng were within 15 seconds of the Slovenian specialist. The French TGV Cavagna had slowed and seemed to drop out of the battle for the medals. On the second lap, the differences were considerably magnified. Roglič put everyone in their place in the tough initial section. He put Dennis, Dumoulin and Ganna at over half a minute and Van Aert even at over one minute at the first time point after 29 kilometres. Küng still fluctuated between them.
A storming ride from Primož Roglič
At the second intermediate time point of the second lap, after 37 kilometres, Roglič overran his competitors even further. Dumoulin, Ganna, Küng and Dennis still had a chance to win the silver and bronze. The difference between the four was only 7 seconds, so the heavy closing kilometres towards the circuit became decisive for the medals. At the finish, Tom Dumoulin was the first of the medal candidates with a time of 56:06, but he had to leave the hot seat because a very strong Primoz Roglič, with 55:04, was more than a minute faster. Rohan Dennis eventually lost two seconds to Dumoulin. Küng, who was still strong in the finalé, just missed out on bronze to Dennis.
Last man off – Filippo Ganna finished 5th
World champion Ganna was also unable to beat the Dutchman. The Italian finished in fifth place. For Van Aert, in sixth place, he was more than a minute and a half from the winner of Olympic gold.
Gold and silver – Rogič and Dumoulin
Gold medalist, Primoz Roglič (Slovenia): “I had nothing to lose. It’s hard to keep your head up, especially when things don’t go the way you want them to. But in the end I always kept working hard. I have always believed in it. Anything is possible, any day. I gave everything and had nothing to lose. I went all in from the start and then fought for every kilometre. That was my job and it went well. My time was apparently enough for the gold medal and I am very satisfied with that. The medal is beautiful and also quite heavy. All the hard work has now paid off. All the work we’ve put into it. In cycling it’s stupid to compare all the races. It’s super hard to win, even your home race around the corner. But every achievement is special. This one is for me super, super special and that’s why I’m very happy.”
TT top three – Primoz Roglič, Tom Dumoulin and Rohan Dennis
Olympic Games – Men’s Time Trial Result:
1. Primoz Roglič (Slovenia) in 55:04
2. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) at 1:01
3. Rohan Dennis (Australia) at 1:04
4. Stefan Kung (Switzerland)
5. Filippo Ganna (Italy) at 1:05
6. Wout van Aert (Belgium) at 1:40
7. Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) at 1:48
8. Rigobert Urán (Colombia) at 2:14
9. Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) at 2:17
10. Patrik Bevin (New Zealand) at 2:20
11. Alberto Bettiol (Italy) at 2:33
12. Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) at 2:42
13. Hugo Houle (Canada) at 2:52
14. Stefan De Bod (South Africa)
15. Maximilian Schachmann (Germany) at 3:29
16. João Almeida (Portugal)
17. Rémi Cavagna (France) at 3:34
18. Maciej Bodnar (Poland) at 3:42
19. Nikias Arndt (Germany) at 3:45
20. Aleksandr Vlasov (Russian Federation) at 3:51
21. Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) at 3:55
22. Tanel Kangert (Estonia) at 4:01
23. Tobias Foss (Norway) at 4:47
24. Brandon McNulty (United States Of America) at 4:53
25. George Bennett (New Zealand) at 5:24
26. Michael Kukrle (Czech Republic) at 5:37
27. Richie Porte (Australia) at 5:49
28. Nicolas Roche (Ireland) at 6:18
29. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Great Britain) at 6:40
30. Toms Skujins (Latvia) at 7:00
31. Patrick Konrad (Austria)
32. Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) at 7:17
33. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eritrea) at 8:18
34. Lawson Craddock (United States Of America) at 8:48
35. Saeid Safarzadeh (Iran) at 10:10
36. Azzedine Lagab (Algeria) at 10:17
37. Lukáš Kubiš (Slovakia) at 11:21
38. Ahmad Badreddin Wais (Refugee Olympic Team) at 13:36.