Van Avermaet: “Winning an Olympic title is something really big!”

A brutal day in the saddle saw Greg Van Avermaet come out on top in the men’s Olympic road race, a result he was understandably pleased with — but it wasn’t an easy victory by any means.

“It was a pretty crazy race, a hard one; and the descent was pretty technical,” he said afterwards. “All the guys took risks. I was in good position and never really went over my limit. On the descent I so a lot of guys lying on the ground. I was counting them.

“I was a little confused how many were left on the front. Me and Fulsang went for it and tried to catch him. For me the last five to six kilometres everything went perfect.”

Prior to the race he was seen very much as an outsider, with the tough climbs appearing to pitch the race at those more at home in the high mountains. He admitted that he was also sceptical.

“I didn’t think it either,” he said, talking about his chances. “I just went early to anticipate the others and felt really strong. I knew I just had to hang on and hope for a sprint, and that’s how it went.

“For me, winning an Olympic title is something really big! I never expected this.”

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