Olympics: Viviani rescues a medal but loses silver on last lap of Omnium

Elia Viviani (Italy) takes bronze in the men's Omnium at the Olympic Games
Elia Viviani (Italy) takes bronze in the men's Omnium at the Olympic Games (Image credit: Getty Images)

Halfway through the men’s Omnium at the Tokyo Olympic Games and defending champion Elia Viviani (Italy) saw his chances of taking hanging by a thread.

The Italian finished thirteenth in the Scratch Race and eighth in the Tempo Race but he roared back to win the Elimination Race and with just a lap to go in the final Points Race found himself in the silver medal slot. However, a do-or-die move from Campbell Stewart (New Zealand) edged Viviani into bronze in the final standings with Matthew Walls (Great Britain) taking gold.

Viviani’s ride in the Elimination race, in which he beat Walls to the win, moved him back into contention and into sixth in the overall standings on 82 points but he still had considerable work to do in order to rescue his medals hopes. He fired back by taking a lap in the Points race, along with two intermediate sprints, and with just handful of laps remaining he looked on course to take silver.

However, Stewart  - who had already taken a lap earlier in the race - struck out again with 17 laps to go as part of a strong trio of riders and the New Zealander not only picked up points at several intermediate sprints but also gained a lap and 20 points. He finished with double points in the final sprint to move into second in the standings. 

Wall finished with 153 points, with Stewart on 129 points, and Viviani on 124 points. 

“If we see how I started in the Scratch race it really was a shit situation. Luckily after the Elimination race I knew that I could win or I was back in the game. It was a good reaction with the Elimination race. I could gain or lose everything in the points race and it worked out,” Viviani said at the finish.

“At the end I’m really sorry to lose the silver medal on the last lap but if we see how the event started it’s a really nice bronze medal.”

Viviani came into the event 24 hours after Italy had taken a stunning victory in the men’s team pursuit. Part of the endurance squad, but without a ride in the competition, Viviani admitted that coming into in the Omnium had been stressful but with the Madison still to come, the Italian has another shot at a medal before his Games are over.

“It was probably a little bit stressful but the joy yesterday was really amazing for us and our team pursuit group. We worked really well as a big team and then now with a gold and a bronze we’ve done a really good Tokyo 2020. There’s one race to go and with the feelings that I have now after the Omnium, the feelings are good. Simone [Consoni] showed that he’s really good and we’re not the favourites for the Madison but I think that we can be one of the surprise teams.

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.