Olympics: Australian cyclist Porte eyes medal five years after Rio crash

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian road cyclist Richie Porte is eyeing the medal podium at the Tokyo Games and hopes to banish memories of his painful Olympic debut at Rio five years ago.

Porte, who finished third in last year's Tour de France, will lead Australia's assault on the road cycling at Tokyo after being confirmed in the team with Jack Haig and Cameron Meyer on Thursday.

The 36-year-old Tasmanian was one of the major contenders at Rio until a downhill crash left him nursing a broken shoulder blade.

"The last Olympics I didn't have the greatest memories so to be able to go back to an Olympic Games is going to be fantastic," he said.

"We can aim to be up there for the podium ... It would be a dream for anyone to medal at the Olympics.

"Obviously that's the big goal but I think it's just going to be an absolute miracle that these Games are going to go ahead."

The men’s road race follows a 244km course east from Tokyo with nearly 5km of elevation, boosting the medal hopes of Grand Tour climbers like Porte and Chris Froome.

Australia's twice world champion Rohan Dennis was selected for the time trial and will be regarded as a strong contender on the climb-heavy circuit.

Amanda Spratt, the world silver medallist at Innsbruck in 2018 and bronze winner at Yorkshire a year later, was selected for her third Olympics in road cycling, along with debutant Tiffany Cromwell.

Sarah Gigante and Grace Brown will compete in the time trial at their first Olympics.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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