Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen put forth an impressive final night of racing to bring his country its first cycling gold medal in the inaugural edition of the men's omnium. After a gutsy effort to overcome a crash in the scratch race and chase down a breakaway of eight that had lapped the field, Hansen was able to ride the second fastest kilometer time trial to secure his overall victory by two points over Frenchman Bryan Coquard.
"It feels weird. I still cannot believe it," Hansen said afterward. "It's so unreal. It's the biggest thing that you can ever achieve for an omnium rider, so it's just a crazy feeling."
Great Britain's gold medal winning team pursuiter Ed Clancy was the fastest against the clock in the final event, even touching the Olympic kilometer record with a remarkable time of 1:00.981, but it wasn't enough to make up for his relatively poor showings in the mass start events and he took the bronze.
Sitting in fifth place heading into the second half of the omnium, Hansen rode a spectacular individual pursuit to beat Clancy by a mere two-tenths of a second - a result that moved him into third overall behind Australian Glenn O'Shea and Clancy.
The critical race of the night for Hansen proved to be the scratch race, where a dangerous group of eight riders escaped to lap the field, leaving him, O'Shea and Clancy behind. Hansen, ever attentive, was preparing to jump across with Clancy when the breakaway ahead was just being established, but crashed. He was allowed to restart, and then went on to solo away from the field as the breakaway was taking a lap.
"I had a really bad feeling after the crash. I think the adrenaline just came in, to kick in the wheel, to finish it," Hansen said. "It's really important getting back up. And gaining a lap was unreal. It gave me the belief in finishing. I actually didn't believe in myself after the crash, but I got back up and took the lap.