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Great Britain tops Tokyo Olympics cycling medal table

Jason Kenny (Great Britain) celebrates after winning the men's Keirin in the Tokyo Olympics
Jason Kenny (Great Britain) celebrates after winning the men's Keirin in the Tokyo Olympics (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Thanks to winning more medals on the final day of track cycling in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Great Britain solidified their position at the top of the medal table, taking home six gold medals, four silver and two bronze in the cycling events.

Great Britain topped the Netherlands, who also won a dozen medals but five gold, three silver and four bronze.

On the final day of racing on the Izu track, Jason Kenny added the final touch to Britain's tally, attack early off the front in the men's Keirin and powering to an unassailable advantage before his rivals could react and close the gap.

The medal pushed Kenny into the history books as Great Britain's most successful Olympic athlete with seven gold medals and two silver, bettering Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins.

 However, a medal was far from a certainty in the Keirin, especially after Kenny had  to fight through repechage to make it out of the first round. But a second place in the second round and a win in the semifinal meant he could fight for "some more silverware", as he put it.

“I didn’t feel like I was a favourite coming into the finals,” Kenny said. 

“I wasn’t as quick as I wanted to be in the sprint and team sprint. I kind of felt like I had nothing to lose.”

When the pacing motor pulled off, Kenny surged. Matthew Glaetzer (Australia)  looked back to see who else might respond, and the answer was nobody. It was too late to catch the cagey 33-year-old.

“Literally, just before we rode off, I didn’t want to be on the front and I said to my coach, ‘if they leave the gap, should I just go?’,” Kenny said, “He didn’t sound very convincing but said, ‘yeah’. I gave it a little squeeze and Matthew didn’t respond.”

Kenny's gold added to that of Matthew Walls in the men's Omnium, that of his partner Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald in the Madison, along with silver medals from Walls and Hayter in the men's Madison, bronze from Jack Carlin in the Sprint, silver from Kenny, Carlin and Ryan Owens in Team Sprint, silver in the women's Team Pursuit with Laura Kenny, Archibald, Neah Evans, Elinor Barker and Josie Knight on the track.

Great Britain also won gold with Tom Pidcock in men's mountain bike cross-country race, silver in men's BMX Racing with Kye White, bronze with Declan Brooks in BMX Freestyle and a pair of stunning women's BMX gold medal performances from Charlotte Worthington in BMX Freestyle and Beth Shriever in BMX Racing.

On the final day of track cycling, Jen Valente won the USA's first gold medal with a commanding performance across four events in the women's Omnium, while Canada's Kelsey Mitchell won the women's Sprint tournament.

Road medalists

The Tokyo Olympics cycling events kicked off with the road races where Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) and Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria) won the gold medals, having topped the podium along with silver medalists Wout van Aert (Belgium) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) and bronze medalists Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy).

Both Carapaz and Kiesenhofer claimed victories on the Fuji International Speedway after solo breakaways, but while the former Giro d'Italia winner was one of the favourites, Kiesenhofer's came from the day's early breakaway and few expected her to stay away to take the gold medal.

The individual time trials followed where Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands took a well-deserved gold medal, finishing nearly a minute ahead of Marlen Reusser (Switzerland). Reusser finished five seconds ahead of reigning world champion Anna van der Breggen to claim silver. 

Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) won the men's individual time trial ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) and Rohan Dennis took Australia's first medal of the Games with bronze.

Also read:

Tokyo Olympics road cycling medalists
GoldSilverBronze
Men's road raceRichard Carapaz (Ecu) Wout van Aert (Bel)Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Women's road raceAnna Kiesenhofer (Aut)Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned)Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita)
Men's time trialPrimoz Roglic (Slo)Tom Dumoulin (Ned)Rohan Dennis (Aus)
Women's time trialAnnemiek van Vleuten (Ned)Marlen Reusser (Swi)Anna van der Breggen (Ned)

Mountain bike medalists

Jolanda Neff led a Switzerland sweep of the women's mountain bike podium, winning the cross country event ahead of compatriots Sina Frei and Linda Indergand.

Great Britain's Tom Pidcock won the men's cross-country race with Mathias Flückiger adding to Switzerland's total with the silver and David Valero (Spain) claiming bronze.

Tokyo Olympics mountain bike medalists
GoldSilverBronze
Men's MTB XCOTom Pidcock (GBr)Mathias Flückiger (Swi)David Valero (Spa)
Women's MTB XCOJolanda Neff (Swi)Sina Frei (Swi)Linda Indergand (Swi)

Track medalists

China entered the medal standings as gold medalists in the women's team sprint, where Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi dominated the German team of Emma Hinze and Lea Friedrich, with the Russian Olympic team of Daria Shmeleva and Anastasia Voynova with the bronze.

On day 2, the German women's team pursuiters, Franziska Brausse, Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein and Mieke Kröger set a new Olympic and World Record en route to the gold medal, bettering their time from the previous rounds with an incredible time of 0:04:04.242. Great Britain (Katie Archibald, Laura Kenny, Neah Evans, Josie Knight, Elinor Barker) won silver ahead of the USA (Chloé Dygert, Megan Jastrab, Jennifer Valente, Emma White, Lily Williams), who topped Canada to take bronze.

The men's team sprint event was dominated by the Dutch team of Roy van den Berg, Harrie Lavreysen, and Matthijs Buchli who bested defending Olympic champions Great Britain (Jack Carlin, Jason Kenny, Ryan Owens), also setting a world and Olympic record in the process at 42.134 seconds during the qualifying round. France (Florian Grengbo, Rayan Helal, Sébastien Vigier) won bronze.

The men's team pursuit came down to a thrillingly close finish with Italy (Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon, Jonathan Milan) edging out Denmark (Niklas Larsen, Lasse Norman Hansen, Rasmus Pedersen, Frederik Rodenberg) in the final. Australia (Leigh Howard, Kelland O'Brien, Luke Plapp, Sam Welsford, Alexander Porter) bested New Zealand after a crash left the team with three men.

On day 4, the women's Keirin saw a surprise victory by Shanne Braspennincx over New Zealand's Ellesse Andrews and Canada's Lauriane Genest. Pre-race favourite Katy Marchant crashed out in the quarterfinal while Germany's Emma Hinze was eliminated in the semifinal.

The men's Omnium was the domain of Britain's Matthew Walls, who stayed cool in the hectic points race to keep the lead he held after three rounds of events. Defending champion Elia Viviani pulled himself up from sixth to second in the final event but was surpassed for the silver medal by New Zealand's Campbell Stewart in the final sprint and had to settle for bronze.

Harrie Levreysen (Netherlands) dominated the men's Sprint tournament on day 5, besting his teammate Jeffrey Hoogland, with Jack Carlin taking bronze for Great Britain.

The women's Madison saw an assured ride by the British pair Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald who won gold over Denmark and Russia.

The men's Madison - a hectic, crash-filled and fast race where no team could steal a lap - was won by Denmark's Michael Mørkøv and Lasse Norman Hansen ahead of Great Britain and France, leading into the final night.

Jen Valente (USA) closed out the Games with gold in the women's Omnium, Kelsey Mitchell (Canada) in the women's Sprint and Jason Kenny (Great Britain) with gold in the Keirin. 

Also read:

Tokyo Olympics track cycling medalists
EventGoldSilverBronze
Women's Team SprintChinaGermanyRussian Olympic
Men's Team SprintNetherlandsGreat BritainFrance
Women's Team PursuitGermanyGreat BritainUSA
Men's Team PursuitItalyDenmarkAustralia
Women's KeirinShanne Braspennincx (Ned)Ellesse Andrews (NZL)Lauriane Genest (Can)
Men's OmniumMatthew Walls (GBr)Campbell Stewart (NZL)Elia Viviani (Ita)
Women's MadisonGreat BritainDenmarkRussian Olympic
Men's SprintHarrie Levreysen (Ned)Jeffrey Hoogland (Ned)Jack Carlin (GBr)
Men's MadisonDenmarkGreat BritainFrance
Men's KeirinJason Kenny (GBr)Mohd Awang (Mas)Harrie Levreysen (Ned)
Women's SprintKelsey Mitchell (Can)Olena Starikova (Ukr)Lee Wai Sze (HKg)
Women's OmniumJen Valente (USA)Yumi Kajihara (Jpn)Kirsten Wild (Ned)

BMX

Charlotte Worthington claimed a surprise gold for Great Britain over favourite Hannah Roberts (USA), with Switzerland adding another bronze with Nikita Ducarroz in the women's event.

It was Great Britain's third cycling gold of the Games after Tom Pidcock won the men's mountain bike cross country and Beth Shriever won women's BMX Racing.

Logan Martin gave Australia their first gold medal of the Games, winning the men's freestyle over Daniel Dhers (Venezuela) and Declan Brooks (Great Britain).

The Netherlands won the men's BMX Racing with Niek Kimmann and added a bronze by Merel Smulders.

BMX
EventGoldSilverBronze
Women's RacingBeth Shriever (GBr)Mariana Pajon (Col)Merel Smulders (Ned)
Men's RacingNiek Kimmann (Ned)Kye White (GBr)Carlos Ramirez (Col)
Women's FreestyleCharlotte Worthington (GBr)Hannah Roberts (USA)Nikita Ducarroz (Swi)
Men's FreestyleLogan Martin (Aus)Daniel Dhers (Ven)Declan Brooks (GBr)

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news.