A late crash for Geraint Thomas brought heartbreak for Team GB after a heroic performance in the men’s road race at the Rio Olympic Games.
The Welshman was in medal contention when he crashed to the ground with less than 15km to go of the 237.5km race, on the final descent of the Vista Chinesa circuit.
But in typical fashion, the Commonwealth Games champion got back on his bike to complete the race at Fort Copacabana.
Thanks for all the messages guys. Gutted to end like that, with it all the play for!!!— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) August 6, 2016
Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet was crowned Olympic champion, winning a three-man sprint against Jakob Fuglsang and Rafał Majka who won silver and bronze respectively.
Thomas ended the race in 11th, Chris Froome 12th and Adam Yates 15th.
Team GB men's road coach Rod Ellingworth said: “In general, great team work. The way the lads wanted to race was how they actually raced. It was just unfortunate about the crash at the end. When you think about how many riders crashed down there it was pretty mad.
"Looking at Geraint there he was proper, proper disappointed. He knew that was a proper gold medal chance."
How the race unfolded
Simon Geschke (Germany), Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), Svan Erik Bystrom (Norway), Michael Albasini (Switzerland), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) and Pavel Kochetkov (Russia) had formed the early break in the opening 15km.
The gap grew to as much as seven minutes before superb work on the front of the peloton from Ian Stannard and then Steve Cummings brought the gap down to two minutes.
And as the riders neared the Vista Chinesa circuit with around 60km remaining, it was clear the break would be caught.
With 40km to go, Thomas’ chasing group of five had bridged across to leaders Pavel Kochetkov and Michal Kwiatkowski on the brutal climb to Vista Chinesa.
Yates was one of a number of riders to then join Thomas on the second of three laps to form a dangerous group of 11.
The 23-year-old was dropped on the third and final lap of the circuit as Chris Froome tried to make the move across but it was Thomas who was best placed for a British medal shot.
Vincenzo Nibali, Sergio Henao and Majka broke away from the leaders on the final ascent but when Nibali and Henao crashed on the last descent it left Majka to push on alone as the sole leader with just 15km to the finish.
Thomas then suffered the same fate as Nibali and Henao as he came off his bike to end any hopes of a Team GB podium.