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29th Olympic Games - JO

Beijing, China, August 9-23, 2008

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August 9: Men's Road Race,

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown & Greg Johnson

Live coverage starts: 11:30
Estimated finish: 17:30

A Temple and the Great Wall
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

11:37 ICT   
Welcome everyone to Cyclingnews' coverage of the Olympic Games of the XXIX Olympiad. With the night of glitz and glamour – the opening ceremony – now behind us it's straight into the action for the cyclists. Things get underway today for the men, with the 245.19 KM road race.

11:40 ICT   
Fears overnight were that today's race might be postponed to a later time, possibly tomorrow – when the women's road race will be held – due to smog concerns. While some television networks were reportedly told to have back-up programming at the ready, the treat didn't eventuate and the peloton has rolled out.

11:43 ICT    30km/215.4km to go
Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) and Patricio Almonacid (Chile) have taken 7.28 minutes on the main peloton after 40 minutes of racing. The pair is working well together and expected to draw out more time on the peloton, but neither of the breakaway riders poses a threat to the medal contenders.

11:45 ICT   
Defending champion Paolo Bettini (Italy) is back at the team car having a chat with his team director. The gold medal winner from Athens in 2004 looks fresh and has a good chance of defending his title today.

11:48 ICT   
The temperature in Beijing today is around 27 degrees and while the much-talked about smog is certainly still around, it's a relatively clear day by Beijing standards.

11:55 ICT    37km/208.4km to go
The peloton is clearly in no hurry at the moment, with the riders chatting as they roll along the flat, three-lane wide highway. David Zabriskie (United States Of America) is at the front testing the waters a little.

11:57 ICT   
As the peloton moves closer to the day's hilly finishing circuit, where the riders will do seven laps, the smog is getting thicker and lower. There's talk of storms possibly coming in towards the end of the race, which will add another challenging element for the riders. Hong Kong's Olympic venues have been hammered this week by a typhoon, but so far Beijing has been fortunate with the rain and today there's little wind for the riders to contest with.

11:59 ICT   
After winning Clásica San Sebastián last weekend, Alejandro Valverde is feeling confident of a Spanish win today. "I believe that we are one of the most dangerous teams,” Valverde told the press. “Everybody knows what Alberto already won this year and what he is able to do in every kind of race. Carlos just won the Tour, and Oscar and Samuel also achieved a great Tour. I believe that the five of us can challenge for a medal."

12:04 ICT    43km/202.4km to go
As the end of the first hour of racing nears, the peloton has covered 43 kilometres. The lead of Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) and Patricio Almonacid (Chile) has blown out to over 14 minutes, as the peloton eases its way into the race. The duo out front is getting cheers from reasonably large crowds, but they will pose little threat to the big names like Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and Paolo Bettini (Italy) when the race reaches its challenging finishing circuit. The riders will do seven laps of the finish circuits, which includes a notable climb near the Great Wall of China. No doubt, our friends on the international space station will be hoping to catch some live action from out of space, with the Great Wall one of the few identifiable objects from space.

12:06 ICT   
Italy's Paolo Bettini is back at the car again having another long free ride. Earlier Tour Down Under director and former Olympic gold medallist Mike Turtur said he'd have thrown Bettini out of the race if he held onto a car for this long without pedalling in one of his races – we doubt that will happen to the defending champion today in China though.

12:10 ICT   
The Italians are making a move back in the peloton, attacking the group.

12:13 ICT   
The attack was made by Vincenzo Nibali (Italy). A group of four has now moved ahead of the peloton, with Tour de France stage winner Simon Gerrans (Australia) also tacking onto the end.

12:14 ICT   
The peloton has reacted to the move and the pace has picked up in the bunch. The surge has brought back the group but Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) is still eager to get something going.

12:17 ICT   
While the Aussie hype has been all about that Cadel Evans bloke, his team-mate Michael Rogers thinks today could be his day. Rogers has been out of action due to illness, so his form is unknown, but he believes the circuit suits him perfectly. "In the past 10 years at the Olympic Games and the world champs, there's been nothing like this course," he said. "I think it suits me perfectly."

12:18 ICT   
The peloton has cooled off again, while Paolo Bettini (Italy) is clearly talking on his radio, plotting the Italian's next attack.

12:20 ICT   
The time checks haven't exactly been free flowing today – perhaps the smog is interfering with the Cyclingnews blimp's receiver. We'll see if we can't drop our trusty ship down to a lower level and clear up those communication problems.

12:22 ICT   
Alberto Contador Velasco has just show exactly how well the Spanish squad works together. Despite being a Tour de France and Giro d'Italia champion, the youngster is doing the dirty work, hauling bottles for his team-mates. It's this type of work between the Spanish squad – normally rivals racing at opposing trade teams – that has them as the favourites to win today.

12:23 ICT   
Paolo Bettini just shook hands with Stuart O'Grady on the way back to the team car again. It's the defending champion's third trip for a chat at the team car today – he's probably talking tactics about what the Italians need to do in order to break up this bunch.

12:25 ICT   
Dropping to a lower attitude is already paying dividends – the breakaway riders are at 14.43 minutes. While the peloton has cooled off and is rolling along nicely again now, there's still a number of kilometres remaining before the finishing circuit, where the action is really expected to kick off.

12:28 ICT    52km/193.4km to go
The road up with the leaders – Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) and Patricio Almonacid (Chile) – has dropped back to two lanes. The riders are getting nearer to the finishing circuit – around about 30 minutes away. The smog is slowly getting thicker as the race heads out of Beijing city and nears the mountains.

12:31 ICT   
Australia's got three riders at the head of the peloton, but they're all taking on some more food. Team-mate Cadel Evans is back at the team car getting his stem tightened. The break away as 12.5 kilometres advantage on them, but the peloton's big names are just continuing to fuel their bodies and will start to push on soon.

12:37 ICT   
Four riders have attacked the peloton again, but it seems to be non-threatening riders with Dainius Kairelis (Lithuania) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) amongst the action. Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) Grivko (Ukraine) and Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) are the other two in the Eastern European movement.

12:39 ICT   
The group of four has been caught, but a charge by Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia) has caused others to chase. The rider's attack has forced a major split in the peloton.

12:40 ICT   
Around 25 riders are in the front part of the split, which has taken several hundred metres over the remainder of the peloton. The split occurred as the riders reached the dual lane section of road that we mentioned earlier.

12:42 ICT   
David Zabriskie (United States Of America) and Jason McCartney are at the front of the peloton, but aren't working. It seems the American squad might have a rider amongst the action in the front group of 25 riders – and the Italians are doing a similar thing.

12:45 ICT   
Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Niki Terpstra (Netherlands) and Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation) are caught in no-man's land between the two groups. Efimkin is a strong rider who was expected to do well today, and he's now desperately trying to cross to the lead group. "This is a very serious problem for the main field," said Phil Liggett. "This is a completely different bike race."

12:46 ICT   
Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Spain) has made the lead group, as has stage winner Simon Gerrans from Australia. Another big threat in that lead group is Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), who also wore the yellow jersey at this year's Tour. The group certainly has some strong riders in it.

12:47 ICT   
Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation) has attacked out of the group of three caught in the middle. Tanel Kangert (Estonia) has been dropped but Niki Terpstra (Netherlands) has managed to stay with the Russian.

12:48 ICT   
Tanel Kangert (Estonia) has caught back up with Niki Terpstra (Netherlands) and Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation) and the trio are again working well with one another.

12:51 ICT   
The writing is on the wall for Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Niki Terpstra (Netherlands) and Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation). The trio has accepted its fate and has sat up, awaiting the arrival of the peloton. Efimkin will be hoping the group of 25 is caught on the finishing circuit's mountains.

12:54 ICT   
The race is getting close to today's finishing circuit, where riders will do seven laps. The circuit has one notable climb, with it reaching 620 metres above sea level. It will be there that the main peloton hopes to catch the group of 25 riders currently ahead.

12:57 ICT   
Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium) and Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) are also in the group of 25. As are Stef Clement (Netherlands), Rémi Pauriol (France) and Jonathan Bellis (Great Britain).

12:58 ICT   
Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) and Patricio Almonacid (Chile) have pulled out another minute despite the action heating up below. The riders have hit the first elevation of the day, although even after their time out front I'm sure the high-way exit ramp won't pose too many dramas to their lead.

13:00 ICT    77km/168.4km to go
Robert Hunter (South Africa) and David Zabriskie (United States Of America) are taking turns at the head of the peloton. The bunch has strung out as the engines on the front drive up the pace in pursuit of the group ahead.

13:01 ICT   
Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) and Patricio Almonacid (Chile) have reached the finish circuit besides the Great Wall of China. The pair is now heading through the arches near the finish line.

13:02 ICT   
David Zabriskie (USA) looks sharp and aero with a clean shaved face.

13:03 ICT   
The leaders no have seven laps of 24km remaining.

13:05 ICT    77.4km/168km to go
We have about 168 of racing left...

We see Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) gapped off on the descent. Patricio Almonacid (Chile) had a look and went forward on his own.

13:07 ICT   
Jackson Rodriguez (Venezuela) takes a tumble. He hops back up and gets going. Italian Gianni Savio rides up in the team car to check out his rider after the fall. During the season, Savio runs Team Diquigiovanni, the team of Gilberto Simoni.

13:09 ICT   
The two leaders have now started on the finishing circuit, which will be ridden 7 times. They are out of the city and into a wooded area. They passed the Great Wall – some beautiful views of the Walls and temples, very exotic. Or it would be, if one could see it all through the thick air.

13:12 ICT   
We are trying to get the numbers on the escape of 25. It is approaching the finish line. Russia is not represented in the move. It passed through the tunnel, 200m to the line.

13:13 ICT   
The gruppo rolls up to the start line 1'20" behind the group of 25 and 11'40" behind the lead duo.

13:15 ICT   
We know Jens Voigt (Germany), Carlos Sastre (Spain) and Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg) are in the move.

We have been racing for 2h12'

13:18 ICT   
David Zabriskie (USA) is gapped off as soon as the climbing gets going. He did a hard pull earlier. He has been away from competition since his crash in the Giro d'Italia. Certainly, he will want to save something for the time trial.

Each lap contains nine kilometres of climbing.

13:20 ICT   
We know these riders are in the move of 26:
Jens Voigt (Germany)
Carlos Sastre (Spain)
Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)
Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)
Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)
Stef Clement (Netherlands)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium)

13:26 ICT   
Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) tries to bridge up... He launches up the left side of the road. He is coming off an amazing Tour de France.

13:29 ICT    89.8km/155.6km to go
Patricio Almonacid (Chile) passes the finish line. He has six laps to race.

13:29 ICT   
Niki Terpstra of the Netherlands is falling off the back. The youngster was a late addition to the team. But we will see the Milram rider again in the track events.

13:31 ICT   
Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) comes through the start-finish. He is four minutes back after 2h30 of racing.

13:33 ICT   
Liang Zhang (China) stops to fix his chain.

13:39 ICT   
Here are the 25 riders we know of in the escape. We believe there are 26, so we are missing one rider.
Jens Voigt (Germany)
Carlos Sastre (Spain)
Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)
Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)
Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)
Stef Clement (Netherlands)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium)
Simon Gerrans (Australia)
Serguei Ivanov (Russia)
Ryder Hesjedal (Canada)
Jonathan Bellis (Great Britain)
Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia)
Rémi Pauriol (France)
Jan Valach (Slovakia)
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
Vladimir Miholjevic (Croatia)
Murilo Fischer (Brazil)
Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
Oscar Freire (Spain)
Radoslav Rogina (Croatia)
Borut Bozic (Slovenia)
Gatis Smukulis (Latvia)
Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus)
Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark)
Vladimir Karpets (Russia)

13:42 ICT   
Cyril Dessel (France) has a talk with the team car. Stuart O'Grady (Australia) is back there too. He is sporting yellow and green sunglasses.

13:44 ICT   
Patricio Almonacid (Chile) passed a toll both on the highway. He does not have to pay, he must have a tele-pass that allows free passage?

13:46 ICT    102.6km/142.8km to go
He comes to the start-finish.

13:48 ICT   
The 26 come to the start-finish being led by Marzio Bruseghin (Italy).

13:49 ICT   
The group of 26 passes at 4.10 back after 2h49 of racing.

13:51 ICT   
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Oscar Freire (Spain) are not in the escape. We will update that for you.

13:51 ICT   
Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia) is caught and dropped. A brave effort for him today.

13:52 ICT   
We do know that Bert Grabsch (Germany) has made the escape with team-mate Jens Voigt (Germany).

13:53 ICT   
The gap is getting out of hand to the move of 26. Near four minutes.

13:55 ICT   
2h53 of racing. The main peloton comes through at 8'34" back from the leader and 4'25" back from the move of 26. Sungbaek Park (Korea) led the peloton through the start-finish to begin the last five loops.

13:55 ICT   
Laszlo Bodrogi (Hungary) stops for the day. He will save himself for the time trial.

13:56 ICT   
Jason McCartney (USA) makes a move.

13:57 ICT   
Jason McCartney (USA) is joined by four others. But the move comes to nothing. His team is forced to try because it has no one in the move of 26.

Oscar Freire (Spain) now leads the main peloton.

14:00 ICT   
Tour de France champion, Carlos Sastre (Spain), is leading the escape group... Trade team-mate, Jens Voigt (Germany), follows him.

14:01 ICT   
Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) is looking strong in the move and flying the maple leaf high.

14:03 ICT   
Murilo Fischer (Brazil) is looking strong in the move. He will hope for a sprint, but it will be hard for the race to finish in his favour. He is with trade team-mate Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) in this escape.

14:04 ICT   
Jason McCartney (USA) pulls the peloton along. Team USA will have to close down the move of 26 if it is to have a chance today.

14:06 ICT   
Hossein Askari (Iran) is going backwards.

14:07 ICT   
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium) leads the move with Bert Grabsch (Germany) on his wheel.

14:08 ICT   
Along with Jason McCartney of Team USA, there is team Russia trying to pull back the group of 26.

14:10 ICT    113.6km/131.8km to go
Patricio Almonacid (Chile) is being reeled in by the escape group. His attempt is about over.

14:10 ICT   
Patricio Almonacid (Chile) starts the final four loops with a handful of seconds on the chase of 26.

14:12 ICT   
Jason McCartney (USA) is earning his position in the team with a massive pull for his mates.

14:14 ICT   
We see Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) adjusting his shoe straps while the race goes through a tunnel.

Kin San Wu (Hong Kong) is going in reverse.

14:15 ICT   
Vladimir Efimkin (Russia) and Christian Pfannberger (Austria) are helping Jason McCartney (USA) with the muscle work.

14:16 ICT   
5'15" is the gap to the move of 26 as the peloton passes the line with four laps to go.

14:18 ICT   
Patricio Almonacid (Chile) was caught and is with the front group.

14:20 ICT   
The escape is hammering down the descent. Everyone is tucked into an aero position. (Don't try this at home.)

14:20 ICT   
Simon Gerrans (Australia) has a talk with Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium) at the back of the escape group while Carlos Sastre (Spain) is leading the charge.

14:22 ICT   
Patricio Almonacid (Chile) 'relaxes' at the back of the escape group. Recovering from his escape of earlier.

14:28 ICT   
Vladimir Efimkin (Russia) and Jason McCartney (USA) are pulling the peloton along. Christian Pfannberger (Austria) is in third spot.

14:29 ICT   
We get a look at Spain's team. Sammy Sánchez, Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador look strong.

14:31 ICT    126.4km/119km to go
After 126.4km and 3h30 of racing, the peloton is 5'10" back of the 27 leaders. Vladimir Karpets (Russia) is not in the front move.

14:32 ICT   
Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia) has pulled out of the escape group and the race.

14:34 ICT   
The riders pass through a shower zone that was created to keep the body temperature down. With the parcours and the weather conditions, the riders will be worried about cramps by the end of the day.

14:37 ICT   
Patricio Almonacid (Chile) is dropped from the front move of 26. He was off the front of the race since kilometre 22 with Horacio Gallardo (Bolivia). Gallardo was dropped after 100km of racing and now it is Almonacid's turn.

14:39 ICT    132.4km/113km to go
113km of racing left. Sastre is no longer working in the move. He is playing the team roll for Valverde.

14:44 ICT   
Jonathan Bellis (Great Britain) pulls out of the race.

14:46 ICT   
The Sastre group:
Jens Voigt (Germany)
Bert Grabsch (Germany)
Carlos Sastre (Spain)
Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)
Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)
Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)
Stef Clement (Netherlands)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium)
Simon Gerrans (Australia)
Ryder Hesjedal (Canada)
Rémi Pauriol (France)
Jan Valach (Slovakia)
Vladimir Miholjevic (Croatia)
Murilo Fischer (Brazil)
Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
Radoslav Rogina (Croatia)
Borut Bozic (Slovenia)
Gatis Smukulis (Latvia)
Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus)
Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark)
Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)
Petr Bencik (Czech Republic)
Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia)
Andrey Mizourov (Kazakhstan)

14:51 ICT   
3h47 of racing for our leaders, they have four circuits left to race.

14:52 ICT    137.4km/108km to go
3h51 of racing as the peloton passes the finish line to start the final three loops. It is 3'40" behind the leaders.

Gerald Ciolek (Germany)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

14:52 ICT   
Gerald Ciolek (Germany) retires from the race.

14:58 ICT   
The Sastre group of 24...
Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)
Carlos Sastre (Spain)
Bert Grabsch (Germany)
Jens Voigt (Germany)
Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)
Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus)
Rémi Pauriol (France)
Gatis Smukulis (Latvia)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium)
Ryder Hesjedal (Canada)
Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)
Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)
Murilo Fischer (Brazil)
Simon Gerrans (Australia)
Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
Radoslav Rogina (Croatia)
Jan Valach (Slovakia)
Petr Bencik (Czech Republic)
Borut Bozic (Slovenia)
Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia)
Andrey Mizourov (Kazakhstan)
Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine)
Stef Clement (Netherlands)
Dainius Kairelis (Lithuania)

The leaders have 3'15" over the peloton led mostly a Russia-USA alliance.

14:59 ICT   
This race is shaping up in the classic Worlds/Olympics form – a race of elimination. We are down to 24 leaders at the front, and every lap we see riders dropping out of the peloton.

Thanks for joining this morning and thanks for all your e-mails. It gets lonely here in China and we like reading every message! :)

15:00 ICT    147.4km/98km to go
98 kilometres of racing left.

15:05 ICT    150.2km/95.2km to go
Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) leads the Sastre group to the finish line after 4h03 of racing. There are 150.2 kilometres covered and four loops to go.

Levi Leipheimer (USA)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:08 ICT   
USA is packing all of its gunpowder into the barrel as the peloton hits the finish line (-3'16") with four loops to go. The tension is building as the 2008 Olympic road race nears its end. It is now or never for some of these nations to put the crush on the Sastre group.

15:10 ICT   
Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) hit off the front. Podgornyy, in the blue kit, fired his bullet first and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus), who makes his base in Pisa, Italy, jumped right on. Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) is dropped.

15:17 ICT   
The front duo has about 34" on the other 22 riders.

15:20 ICT   
Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) is making more moves at the front of the peloton. Team Italy will want to fight for Bettini even though it has Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) in the escape.

Jason McCartney (USA) is being dropped off the peloton.

Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) during the Tour de France
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:21 ICT   
Karsten Kroon (Netherlands) is looking the worse for wear as the pace heats up.

15:23 ICT   
Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) continue to lead affairs. They pass one of the only zones where there are fans watching the race. Security measures have limited the number of people that were able to line the roads.

15:24 ICT    161km/84.4km to go
The duo passes the finish line. 161km passed for the two leaders after 4 hours and 20 minutes of racing.

15:27 ICT   
The pace is hot... Steve Cummings (Great Britain) and Roger Hammond (Great Britain) are at the back. Sungbaek Park (Korea) is being dropped.

The group, led by Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), comes through the finish line at 3'20" (-3 loops).

15:29 ICT   
The race is strung out in a long line. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) leads the main gruppo with Christian Pfannberger (Austria) and Thomas Rohregger (Austria) behind.

15:31 ICT   
Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) are trading pulls. They have 1'25" over the Sastre gruppetto and 3'03" over the Nibali-led peloton.

Carlos Sastre (Spain) in the Tour de France
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:32 ICT   
Sastre has a bite to eat.

15:38 ICT   
Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) lead to the finish line. Podgornyy leads.

15:39 ICT   
The duo has covered 174km in 4h38 for an average of near 37km/h.

15:39 ICT   
Here comes the Sastre gruppo.

15:41 ICT    174km/71.4km to go
The Sastre group is 1'40" back on the escape duo of Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) and Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine).

15:42 ICT   
Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) leads the peloton at 2'51" of the lead duo. We get a good look of Stefan Schumacher (Germany), winner of two stages in the Tour de France.

15:47 ICT   
Jason McCartney's wife Andrea, who we had a chance to meet last year at Worlds, writes, "Jason McCartney is my favourite rider. What a bad ass."

15:50 ICT   
Vladimir Efimkin (Russia) is out as Serguei Ivanov (Russia) helps lead the chase. Ivanov is currently tucked behind the wheel of young Vincenzo Nibali (Italy). Italy, known as the squadra azzurra, is in all white kits – thankfully it is not raining.

15:51 ICT   
The Sastre group has been caught. This will open the doors for counter-attacks.

The duo, Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) and Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine), is still up the road.

Paolo Bettini (Italy) has a rear wheel change! It comes at a key point.

15:54 ICT   
Team Italia takes a moment to adjust Bettini's bike. (Ballerini hangs his head out the window to let his hair blow in the wind.) The 2X World Champ eases his way back to the peloton. It looks as easy as spreading butter on hot bread.

15:54 ICT   
Karsten Kroon (Netherlands) calls it a day.

15:55 ICT   
Nicolas Roche (Ireland) fires! Franco Pellizotti (Italy) follows with Simon Gerrans (Australia) and Christian Pfannberger (Austria).

15:55 ICT   
Nicolas Roche (Ireland), Franco Pellizotti (Italy), Davide Rebellin (Italy), Simon Gerrans (Australia), Christian Pfannberger (Austria)...

But others are coming up.

15:57 ICT   
José Serpa (Colombia) is there too.

Simon Spilak (Slovenia) and Vladimir Miholjevic (Croatia) crash. Simon Spilak (Slovenia) is having a hard time getting going again.

Stefan Schumacher (Germany)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

15:58 ICT   
The duo crashed in the right-hand gutter.

Number 13, Stefan Schumacher (Germany), looks to be suffering. He is not a fan of the humidly. His race is over...

16:01 ICT    185km/60.4km to go
The move of Nicolas Roche (Ireland) came to nothing. Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) leads the race.

The duo head to the finish line with 5h01 and 185km of racing.

16:02 ICT   
Franco Pellizotti (Italy) and Alberto Contador (Spain), in tow, take off! They are 42" behind the duo at the line.

16:03 ICT   
We have new photos posted.

16:04 ICT   
What a power-move that has formed! Andy Schleck (Luxembourg), Franco Pellizotti (Italy), Alberto Contador (Spain), Christian Pfannberger (Austria), Christian Vande Velde (USA) and ...

Vladimir Karpets (Russia) has a mechanical. So does Serguei Ivanov (Russia).

16:05 ICT   
Fabian Wegmann (Germany) is there too. But it looks to be coming together.

Christian Vande Velde (USA) is still smiling
Photo ©: JF Quénet
(Click for larger image)

16:06 ICT   
The gruppetto of Andy Schleck (Luxembourg), Franco Pellizotti (Italy), Alberto Contador (Spain), Christian Pfannberger (Austria), Christian Vande Velde (USA), Fabian Wegmann (Germany).

Fabian Wegmann (Germany) has a look of pain on his face.

Maxime Monfort (Belgium) has pulled out of the race.

16:08 ICT   
The race is all over the road as riders fight to form the winning move.

Johan Van Summeren (Belgium) hits out with two riders. (He is 1.98m tall!)

16:09 ICT   
It looks to be Thomas Lövkvist (Sweden) and Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) with the tall Johan Van Summeren (Belgium). They have a good gap.

16:10 ICT   
Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) leads the chase behind with Christian Pfannberger (Austria) in tow.

Stefan Schumacher (Germany) has pulled out of the race.

16:11 ICT    190.4km/55km to go
About 55km remaining.

Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) is looking dangerous in the main peloton.

Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) lead the race with 21" over Thomas Lövkvist (Sweden), Rigoberto Uran (Colombia), Johan Van Summeren (Belgium). The peloton is 46" back.

16:18 ICT   
The front duo is joined by the chasing trio to form a group of five: Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus)Thomas Lövkvist (Sweden), Rigoberto Uran (Colombia), Johan Van Summeren (Belgium).

16:19 ICT    194.4km/51km to go
But Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus) loses contact.

Stef Clement (Netherlands) has retired from the race.

Four Spaniards lead the race, behind them are Paolo Bettini (Italy) and Davide Rebellin (Italy).

16:19 ICT   
Sastre is HAMMERING.

16:19 ICT   
Behind the Tour champion is Alberto Contador (Spain) and Samuel Sánchez (Spain).

16:20 ICT   
Spain is bound to attack soon.

16:20 ICT   
The front men are caught – gruppo compatto.

Alejandro Valverde captains Team Spain
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

16:22 ICT   
Leading the race are Carlos Sastre (Spain), Samuel Sánchez (Spain), Alberto Contador (Spain), Alejandro Valverde (Spain), Franco Pellizotti (Italy), Davide Rebellin (Italy) and Paolo Bettini (Italy).

16:23 ICT   
Some riders ride through the showers.

16:24 ICT   
Bert Grabsch (Germany) and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) has retired from the race. Youngster Nibali did a heck of a job today.

Samuel Sánchez (Spain) talks with the team car via race radio.

16:25 ICT   
Russia, Spain and Italy look the strongest at this point, but the race can always be won by an unexpected rider.

16:25 ICT   
Christophe Brandt (Belgium) is out of the race.

16:26 ICT   
Davide Rebellin (Italy) celebrates his 37th birthday today. Buon compleanno Davide!

16:27 ICT   
"I stretched out the race once; we saw the group had up to five minutes," said Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) to Rai television. "I saw Contador suffering today, and Schumacher [beside Nibali - ed.] also suffered."

16:30 ICT    207.4km/38km to go
Jonathan Bellis (Great Britain) is the youngest to compete today; he is 19 years old. He was third in the U23 RR.

Happy birthday to Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus), winner of the Tour of Georgia, who is 26 today.

Oscar Freire (Spain) is out of the race.

16:31 ICT   
Three Spaniards lead, we have lost Contador, the winner of the Giro d'Italia. Sastre, Sánchez and Valverde hold the front three spots and Italia lurks behind.

We have an attack...

16:33 ICT   
It looks to be Dane Nicki Sřrensen. It is. He rides off the front while trade team-mate Sastre chase behind.

16:34 ICT   
Alberto Contador (Spain) is back at the front. Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) is at the back of the peloton.

Nicki Sřrensen (Denmark) is solo but his movements look rough.

16:35 ICT    211.4km/34km to go
Nicki Sřrensen (Denmark) is joined by Franco Pellizotti (Italy), Samuel Sánchez (Spain) and Davide Rebellin (Italy).

We are getting close to the final lap.

Contador after winning the Giro.
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:36 ICT   
Alberto Contador (Spain) finally pulls off after some massive work for 'The Green Bullet' – Alejandro Valverde (Spain).

16:37 ICT    213.4km/32km to go
Christian Pfannberger (Austria) hits out on his own.

16:42 ICT    215.4km/30km to go
It is a brave move by the Austrian champion, however, he is sure to be sucked in before the final battle is waged.

16:45 ICT   
"I just wanted to say that Levi is my favourite racer. He's bad ass. Jason is too, of course," wrote Leipheimer's wife, Odessa Gunn. Christian Pfannberger (Austria) looks like a "bad ass" right now, as certainly his significant other would agree.

Christian Pfannberger in the Ličge-Bastogne-Ličge
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:46 ICT    218.4km/27km to go
Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) leads the chase with Carlos Sastre (Spain), Fabian Wegmann (Germany), José Serpa (Colombia), Nicki Sřrensen (Denmark), Nicolas Roche (Ireland).

16:52 ICT    221km/24.4km to go
Christian Pfannberger (Austria) bravely makes his way to the finish line to start the final circuit of the 2008 Beijing Olympic course. In the shadow of the Great Wall, after 5h50 of racing, the 28 year-old powers on with the last-lap bell ringing.

16:53 ICT   
Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark) tries another move but his legs are toast. Cadel Evans (Australia) easily marks him with Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) in tow.

16:54 ICT   
Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark) is not going so badly. He works with Evans, Davide Rebellin (Italy). They are pulling back Christian Pfannberger (Austria).

Cadel Evans
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

16:55 ICT   
Samuel Sánchez (Spain) leads the race with Davide Rebellin (Italy). They have formed a move of around 10 men. Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark) is there, Cadel Evans (Australia), Christian Vande Velde (USA), Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia)...

16:56 ICT    223.4km/22km to go
Mario Aerts (Belgium), winner of Flčche Wallonne, and Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) are there too.

16:57 ICT   
The leaders go under the showers.

16:58 ICT   
Cadel Evans (Australia), Davide Rebellin (Italy), Levi Leipheimer (USA) are at the front.

16:59 ICT   
Christian Pfannberger (Austria) and others are being dropped by the pace, now dialled up to 11.

16:59 ICT    226.4km/19km to go
Vladimir Karpets (Russia) and Michael Rogers (Australia) are also there with 19km to go.

17:00 ICT   
Jérôme Pineau (France) is there, so is Przemyslaw Niemec (Poland).

17:01 ICT   
Evans phones in an attack.

17:01 ICT    226.4km/19km to go
This looks like the winning move, near 15 men.

Andy Schleck fires!

17:02 ICT   
Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) is followed by Davide Rebellin (Italy) (big age difference there). Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) is third wheel.

17:02 ICT   
Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) stretches it out again. Only Rebellin follows.

Andy Schleck at the Tour de France
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

17:03 ICT   
Michael Rogers (Australia) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) bridge... Samuel Sánchez (Spain) is coming too.

17:03 ICT   
Samuel Sánchez (Spain) fires of a small move and then radios back to the car.

17:06 ICT   
The five leaders are Andy Schleck (Luxembourg), Samuel Sánchez (Spain), Davide Rebellin (Italy), Michael Rogers (Australia), Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia).

17:07 ICT    229.4km/16km to go
The race has only about 16 kilometres remaining. Our winner could come from these five. Two of the big countries are represented.

17:07 ICT   
They have 10 seconds.

17:08 ICT    231.4km/14km to go
Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) tries a dig. It is his fifth attack. Birthday boy, Davide Rebellin (Italy), is right there. Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) claws back with the other two in tow.

17:09 ICT   
Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) and Davide Rebellin (Italy) are joined by Samuel Sánchez (Spain).

17:09 ICT   
Michael Rogers (Australia) looks to be blown, but Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) is chasing.

17:10 ICT    232.9km/12.5km to go
The trio has a good gap. Schleck has to get clear or he will not win from a sprint.

17:10 ICT   
The chase group is 32" back.

17:10 ICT   
Rebellin looks smooth.

17:11 ICT   
Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) leads Samuel Sánchez (Spain) and Davide Rebellin (Italy). Will he attack again?

17:14 ICT    235.4km/10km to go
The leaders head through the dark tunnel and towards the light of an Olympic podium dream. 'Tin Tin' Rebellin leads ahead of Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) and Samuel Sánchez (Spain).

They have 15" in hand.

17:16 ICT    238.4km/7km to go
Rebellin turned pro in 1992! He is a grand old man of cycling at 37 years old today.

17:16 ICT   
Cadel Evans (Australia) tries an attack from the chase behind, but it will be hard to close the gap from behind.

17:17 ICT    239.4km/6km to go
Andy Schleck (Luxembourg), best young rider of the 2008 Tour de France, looks back to get a visual time check.

17:18 ICT   
Michael Rogers (Australia) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) are still chasing behind.

17:19 ICT    240.4km/5km to go
Five kilometres to go for the trio.
Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) - 23 years old
Davide Rebellin (Italy) - 37
Samuel Sánchez (Spain) - 30

17:20 ICT   
Michael Rogers (Australia) is pulling like a madman to bring back the group of three and have a chance to win gold.

17:21 ICT    242.4km/3km to go
Schleck looks nervous. He will have a hard time out-foxing Rebellin.

17:22 ICT    243.4km/2km to go
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) fires out of nowhere to bridge up to Michael Rogers (Australia) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia). The chase trio will catch the lead trio!

17:23 ICT    244.4km/1km to go
With one kilometre to go, we have a group of six to fight for gold near China's Great Wall.

17:23 ICT   
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) on the right. Davide Rebellin (Italy) on the left... -500m

17:23 ICT   
300m, Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) leads

17:24 ICT   
Samuel Sánchez (Spain) on the right!

17:24 ICT   
The Spaniard gets it over Rebellin.

17:24 ICT   
Spain used unbelievable team force to make this Gold happen.

17:25 ICT   
What has Spain not won this year!? Contador Giro, Sastre Tour...

17:27 ICT   
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) rode his way back to a medial in the 2008 Olympics. An impressive performance for third. Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) took fourth.

Team Italy can be proud of its work to produce a silver medal for Rebellin, 37 years old today.

17:34 ICT   
Samuel Sánchez (Spain) timed it perfectly, he led over the last riser with 100m to go. Rebellin tried to close on Sánchez's left.

"If we were in three it would have been easier to control," said Rebellin.

17:34 ICT   
Thanks for joining us today. Please come back tomorrow for the women's road race.

Provisional results

1 Samuel Sánchez (Spain)
2 Davide Rebellin (Italy)
3 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
4 Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia)
5 Andy Schleck (Luxembourg)
6 Michael Rogers (Australia)

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