Olympics: Van Avermaet wins cycling road race gold

Greg van Avermaet of Belgium celebrates after winning the men's Road Cycling race.
Greg van Avermaet of Belgium celebrates after winning the men's Road Cycling race.PHOTO: EPA

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Belgian Greg Van Avermaet won a sprint finish to claim gold in the men's cycling road race at the Olympic Games in Rio on Saturday (Aug 6).

Van Avermaet pipped Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark into second with Rafal Majka of Poland taking bronze at the end of the gruelling 237.5km race.

It continued a stunning summer for the 31-year-old Van Avermaet, who won a stage of the Tour de France last month wile also holding the coveted race leader's yellow jersey for three days.

A dream year for Van Avermaet has also included winning his first major week-long stage race, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad one-day classic.

He and Fuglsang caught runaway leader Majka 1.5km from the finish on the world famous Copacabana beach before the latter two contested the sprint finish.

Majka had looked set to win as he found himself alone in front 12km from the finish after breakaway companions Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao crashed on a fast descent.

But the Pole didn't have the strength to hold off the charging Van Avermaet and Fuglsang.