Team GB have confirmed that Geraint Thomas will compete in Wednesday's Olympic time trial in Pontal. The Welsh rider, who won gold in both Beijing and London as well as claiming three World Championship titles as a member of the men's team pursuit on the track, saw his chances of medalling in the weekend road race disappear when he crashed on the tricky final descent down the Vista Chinesa.
Thomas, who remounted and eventually crossed the line in 11th, was certainly not alone in struggling with the considerable demands of a highly technical course that has since been criticised in the aftermath of a shocking accident involving Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten.
Vincenzo Nibali and Team Sky teammate Sergio Henao came off shortly before him approximately 10km from the finish, sustaining a broken collarbone and a fracture to the iliac crest and thorax trauma respectively.
Australia's Richie Porte crashed on the same part of the hilly Grumari Circuit and has since been diagnosed with a fractured right scapular that will prevent him from competing in the time trial. Luckily Thomas' injuries were less severe, and he has been declared fit to accept an extra place for Great Britain alongside favourite Chris Froome. The latter won bronze in the event behind Sir Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin at London 2012 and will fancy his chances of gold this time around after finishing second and first in the two TT stages en route to a historic third Tour de France triumph last month.
"Whilst I'm thrilled to represent my country in a second event in Rio, the circumstances surrounding my inclusion are unfortunate and I'd like to wish all those who withdrew through injury a quick recovery," Thomas said in a statement from British Cycling. "I lost quite a lot of skin in my crash and my hip took a pretty big knock, but other than that my legs are feeling good and I'm looking forward to racing again on Wednesday."
Van Vleuten's horrific high-speed crash on Sunday certainly gave the cause for most concern. The 33-year-old was leading the women's race when she lost control on the same descent and clipped the kerb before flipping over the handlebars and landing head first. Such a shocking incident overshadowed compatriot Anna van der Breggen's victory and it was subsequently revealed that she was being placed in intensive care after suffering heavy concussion and three fractured vertebrae.
Van Vleuten took to social media yesterday to confirm her injuries and that she was "super disappointed" at the ugly climax to the best race of her career. She also expressed hope that she would be leaving hospital soon and has now published a picture showing her facial injuries.
"Thanks for all the messages," she posted on Twitter. "Hard to deal with my disappointment but also proud about our performance #teamNL".