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Danish cyclists Lasse Hansen and Michael Morkøv won the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Madison with 43 points, ahead of Ethan Hayter and Matthew Walls (Great Britain) with 40 points, and Benjamin Thomas and Donavan Grondin (France) also with 40 points.
The silver and bronze medals were decided by a tiebreaker on the final lap. With the better placing, Team GB took home the silver medal and the French the bronze.
“If we had been a little cooler in the last sprint we could have done one or two, but it’s already a medal and it’s not nothing. These are Olympic Games achievements,” Grondin said.
The two Danes were also part of the four-man Team Pursuit squad which took a silver medal behind the Italians led by Filippo Ganna. Atop the podium, Morkøv proudly belted out the Danish national anthem.
“Maybe this was the last victory of my whole career so I wanted to sing as loud as I could,” said Morkov, who won the Madison with Hansen at the world championships last year.
The Madison debuted in the Olympics in 2000, and was contested in 2004 and 2008, but was left out of the track events for the 2012 and 2016 Games.
Denmark’s men finished sixth in Beijing and Morkøv said he has been waiting since for another crack at gold.
“When Madison came back [into the Olmypics] again I immediately thought to myself, this is what I want, this is what I’m going after,” Morkov said. “My team manager let me have the ambition and now I’m standing here with the gold medal.”
Americans crash, abandon Madison
Americans Gavin Hoover and Adrian Hegyvary had a solid start and scored a point on the third sprint. Several laps later, Hoover moved to the front of the group to pace with riders from Great Britain and France.
At the bell for sprint nine, Hoover threw Hegyvary and the Americans won the intermediate dash and scored five more points. The two continued to pace near the front to avoid crashes that were plaguing the back of the field.
But with 94 laps (of 200) remaining, the two Team USA riders were caught up in a crash during an exchange in turn four.
New bikes were immediately provided to the two Americans, and Hegyvary appeared ready to get right back into racing. But Hoover was slower to return to continue racing. After a brief trackside evaluation and discussion the Americans abandoned.
A subsequent medical evaluation was performed on Hoover and he was diagnosed with a distal radius fracture. He was treated at the venue hospital and was released soon after the competition ended.
In the first heat, France bested Germany and Trinidad and Tobago. Great Britain came out on top of Australia and the Netherlands in the second heat. The third heat saw Malaysia bettered Trinidad and Tobago, and Poland. The fourth heat witness Japan win head of Russian Olympic Committee and Australia, while in the final heat Japan came out on top ahead of New Zealand and Colombia.
In the repechage rounds, Trinidad and Tobago advanced along with the rider from Malaysia, while France was eliminated in the first flight. Repechage two saw Great Britain and Germany advance while the rider from the Netherlands did not. Repechage three went to the Netherlands, with Suriname also advancing, while New Zealand did not. In the final repechage round, Australia and Colombia advanced to the quarterfinal round while the athletes from Kazakhstan did not.
Quarterfinals are set to be contested Sunday morning Tokyo time after the heats and repechages competed Saturday.
In the first quarterfinal, Australia will face Colombia and France. Quarterfinal 2 will see Great Britain face Germany and Malaysia. The third quarterfinal will pit Australia, Germany, and Japan in a contest to make the semifinals.
With COVID sanitary regulations slightly relaxed and the Izu Velodrome at 50 percent capacity, hometown fans cheered Yudai Nitta and Yuta Wakimoto to the quarter-finals, each winning their respective heats.
“I was waiting for this day,” said Japan’s Keirin coach, Frenchman Benoit Vetu. “To hear the people screaming. It is so good to hear the Japanese people enjoying the show because they have waited a long time.”
In the 1/8 rounds, Germany beat Russian Olympic Committee, Canada beat New Zealand, Germany beat China, Hong Kong beat France, Great Britain beat Canada, and the Netherlands beat Ukraine.
The repechages for the 1/8 round saw Canada and France advancing to the quarterfinal, while the Russian Olympic Committee did not in the first rep, while riders from Ukraine and New Lealand knocked out the rider from China.
In the quarterfinals, the two Canadians faced off with Kelsey Mitchel coming out on top. Quarterfinal two saw Emma Hinze (Germany) knocked out Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands). Quarterfinal three was won by Honk Kong ahead of Great Britain before Olena Starikova (Ukraine) bested Lea Friedrich of Germany in the last quarterfinal.
In the semifinal round Sunday, Starikova will face Lee Wai-Sze (Hond Kong), while Hinze will face Mitchell. The winners of each semifinal will face off for the gold and silver medals.
Hinze is looking to be the second-ever German to win the Olympics women’s Sprint. If Hinze, the current world champion also wins Olympic gold, she would follow compatriot Kristina Vogel’s win at the Rio 2016 Games.