Greg van Avermaet of Belgium celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's road race.
Greg van Avermaet of Belgium celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's road race. Ezra Shaw

Richie Porte crashes out of race and Olympics

CYCLING: Australia's Richie Porte has withdrawn from the Rio Olympic Games time trial after breaking his right shoulder blade in the men's road race on day one.

Porte, a pre-race favourite, also suffered cuts and bruises in a fall on a descent just 35 kilometres from the end of the 237km race.

"We were away with a small group on the descent and on one of the corners I came around and there was a guy on the road who crashed and I had nowhere to go,” Porte told the Australian Olympic Comittee's website.

"It was fortunate a tree stopped me from going over the side.

"I'm bruised and battered and sore and I'm disappointed but lucky I'm not worse off,” added Porte, who was also caught by the net fencing lining the side of the Vista Chinesa descent.

"I hit it with a fair bit of speed and it's really disappointing because the guys were good all day looking after me and then for this to happen, it hurts.”

It had already been a bad day for Porte before the crash, dropping his chain off the chain ring twice on the cobbled section of the course.

"The second time Rohan (Dennis) was bringing me back and I got a puncture,” said Porte, whose Olympic campaign is now over.

"I'm definitely out of the time trial,” he added, after being released from Vitoria Hospital in Barra.

"I won't be able to ride for at least 10 days, my arm's in a sling and I can't really move my arm.”

Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet, who won a stage in the Tour de France, last month, took the gold medal in a sprint finish.

Van Avermaet and Jakob Fugslang (Denmark) went head to head in the final stages with the Belgian holding on for the win

Poland's Rafal Majka settled for bronze after leading the breakaway.

It was not a good day for pre-race favourites with both Tour de France champion Chris Froome and Italian Vincenzo Nibali both missing out on the medals.

Nibali was in contention but crashed horribly with Colombia's Sergio Henao on the final descent just 11 kilometres from the finish.

Meanwhile, Australia's men's hockey team began its Olympic campaign with a narrow 2-1 win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

Goals from Chris Ciriello and Matt Gohdes put the Australian men two goals up at half time before James Coughlan halved the deficit within 60 seconds of the start of the third quarter.

The Kiwis thought they had scored a late equaliser but the goal was disallowed after a review by Australia.

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