Olympic track cycling: Lauriane Genest takes Keirin bronze for Canada, Britain’s Matt Walls takes thrilling Omnium gold
Lauriane Genest gets Canada's first cycling medal in the women's Keirin, while the Dutch continue to dominate the sprint events, and GB's Matt Walls takes omnium gold.
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There were no new world records but it was still an exciting fourth day of action in the Tokyo Olympics track program Thursday.
Canada scored its first cycling medal of the Olympic Games with Lauriane Genest taking an impressive bronze in the women’s Keirin. It was a less good day for the USA, with Madalyn Godby being knocked out in the quarterfinal, while Gavin Hoover took eighth in the men’s Omnium.
Matt Walls took Great Britain’s first gold on the track with a commanding win in the men’s Omnium, while New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart put himself into the silver medal spot after lapping the field with just over one lap remaining.
The Netherlands continued to dominate the men’s and women’s sprint competitions. Shanne Braspennincx stormed to women’s Keirin gold while Jeffrey Hoogland and Harrie Lavreysen will line up in the Individual Sprint semi-finals Friday.
Matt Walls romped to victory in the men’s omnium to score Great Britain’s first gold medal in the Izu Velodrome. After growing accustomed to dominating the track program, GB has not had the same stranglehold on the boards so far in Tokyo.
Campbell Stewart (New Zealand) went into the final Omninum event in seventh place overall but mounted a last gasp effort to climb into second place in an exciting end to the competition. Stewart lapped the field for the second time, to add another 20 points to his tally, in the dying moments of the race and made the juncture shortly before the bell tolled for the final lap.
Defending Olympic champion Elia Viviani (Italy) held on for third place after a slow start to the Omnium competition, while world champion Benjamin Thomas (France) was nudged off the podium by Stewart’s efforts.
Walls got his Omnium bid off to the best possible start in the Scratch Race by jumping across to a group that would successfully lap the field before going on to take the race win to give himself 40 points. Thomas and Dutchman Jan Willem van Schip were among the riders that jumped the field with Walls and rounded out the top three.
Meanwhile, Viviani had a disappointing start after missing the escape group and then finishing 13th at the finish line.
Walls, Thomas, and van Schip were at it again in the Tempo Race, taking a lap on the field once again. This time, it was van Schip who took the final sprint to the line, with Thomas in second and Walls in third. Viviani claimed a lap this time to help his points tally but he still had some ground to make up at the halfway point.
Viviani’s fortunes changed in the Elimination Race as he bettered Wells to take the top spot, while van Schip and Thomas missed the cut within the final 10 riders. The USA’s Gavin Hoover enjoyed a solid start to the contest with a top-five result in the Tempo Race putting him in eighth place ahead of the final points race and he would finish in this position after a thrilling end to the competition.
Men’s Omnium results
- Matt Walls (Great Britain)
- Campbell Stewart (New Zealand)
- Elia Viviani (Italy)
- Benjamin Thomas (France)
- Niklas Larsen (Denmark)
Lauriane Genest scored Canada’s first cycling medal of the Tokyo Olympic Games, claiming bronze in the women’s Keirin. Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands stormed to the gold medal while Ellesse Andrews delivered New Zealand its first medal with silver.
Canada got two riders into the final with Kelsey Mitchell taking fifth in the end. Mitchell was the favorite of the two Canadians to take a medal after a series of strong performances in her rounds but it was Genest that had the speed in the final to secure the bronze.
The USA’s Madalyn Godby missed out on a spot in the semi-finals after she was knocked out in the third quarter-final heat. Godby missed the cut by a small margin after being beaten by Ukraine’s Liubov Basova into the final qualifying spot.
Mitchell won the heat she was in with Godby to go through with ease into the next round, while Genest took the final qualifying spot in her heat to progress to the semi-finals. The Canadian pair were pitted against each other in their semi-final heat, but both made it through to the overall final with Mitchell in second and Genest in third.
World champion Emma Hinze (Germany) nearly came down in a crash during the first quarter-final heat after her rear wheel was caught by the Netherland’s Laurine van Riessen. The Dutch rider was moving up the track when she clipped Hinze’s wheel, sending her flying into GB’s Katy Marchant.
While Marchant eventually remounted and finish the heat, though she didn’t qualify for the next round, van Riessen was carried off on a stretcher after receiving medical attention.
After some disappointing performances in the earlier rounds, Hinze would eventually be knocked out in the semi-final, as would another of the pre-race favorites Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong.
Women’s Keirin final
- Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands)
- Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand)
- Lauriane Genest (Canada)
- Olena Starikova (Ukraine)
- Kelsey Mitchel (Canada)
- Liubov Basova (Ukraine)
Men’s Individual Sprint
The Dutch riders continued to dominate the men’s sprinting discipline on the second day of competition in the individual event. Jeffrey Hoogland and Harrie Lavreysen rarely looked in trouble as they progressed through the rounds, putting in the dominant performances that saw them earn team gold earlier in the week.
Defending Olympic champion Jason Kenny was forced to put another race in his legs to compete after he was sent to the repechages (second-chance round) following his defeat to Denis Dmitriev of the Russian Olympic Committee in the 1/8 final. However, he would be ousted by Lavreysen in the quarterfinals.
Lavreysen, Hoogland, and GB’s Jack Carlin all took straightforward wins in their quarterfinal contests, going through in two races without the need of a decider.
The last of the quarterfinal bouts was between Denis Dmitriev (ROC) and Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago. Paul took a dominant win in race one and looked set to sail through to the semi-final with another commanding performance in race two, but he was relegated by the jury for deviating out of the sprint line and a decider was set up.
It looked set to be a tight race but Paul saw his hopes of making it through to the semis when he clipped the wheel of Dmitriev as the Russian came into the sprinters’ line. Paul managed to avoid a crash but he had lost too much on Dmitriev, who was able to ride comfortably to the line to progress to the next round.
Semi-final races (Friday)
- Jeffrey Hoogland (Netherlands) v Denis Dmitriev (ROC)
- Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) v Jack Carlin (GB)