While ultimate success evaded Lucas Hamilton and his Australian teammates, there were plenty of promising signs for the young cyclist at his debut Olympic Games.
The former Ballarat Clarendon College played a solid supporting role for Richie Porte, finishing 71st alongside compatriot Luke Durbridge in the men's road race on Saturday evening (AEST).
Porte was the highest-ranked Australian in 48th, just over 10 minutes off the pace.
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Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz took home the gold medal, escaping the breakaway group to cross the finish line 1'07" 'ahead of his rivals.
It was the only second gold medal for an Ecuadorian at any Olympics and the country's first in cycling.
Belgium's Wout van Aert and Slovenina Tadej Pogacar claimed silver and bronze respectively in a sprint finish.
Hamilton and the Australians started strongly on what was dubbed the hardest course in the history of Olympics cycling.
The 234km-long course included 5,000 metres of climbing and saw competitors take to the slopes of Mt Fuji.
Hamilton - still nursing a dislocated shoulder from a crash in the Tour de France earlier this month - settled into his role, protecting designated leader Richie Porte from the peloton.
Numerous leading groups broke away throughout the nearly six-hour race, though the Australians were never able to bridge the gap.
Hamilton, Durbridge and Porte remained locked in at the front of the main bunch, but couldn't peg back the leaders.
The leading group was whittled down to 11 for the final 30 kilometres. With 5.9km to go Carapaz went it alone, dropping his tiring rivals to cross the finish line alone.
The race was Hamilton and his fellow Australian teammates' only event at Tokyo.
Earlier on Saturday, former Ballarat Grammar student Lucy Stephan and the women's four qualified for the A Final with an Olympic best time of 6:28.76.
Stephan and the crew will next compete on Wednesday, at 10:50am (AEST).
Ballarat rower Katrina Werry will have to take the hard route to a medal, after coming her women's eight crew finished third in their heat.
They were originally scheduled to row on Sunday but all races from that day were bought forward to Saturday.
Werry and her crewmates will now look forward to the women's eight repechage next Wednesday, the race scheduled for an 11:30am AEST start.
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