Olympic track cycling: Lauriane Genest wins Keirin Bronze for Canada, Briton Matt Walls wins thrilling Omnium Gold


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There weren’t any new world records, but it was an exciting fourth day of action in the track program of the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.

Canada won its first Olympic cycling medal with Lauriane Genest, who took an impressive bronze in the women’s keirin. It was a bad day for the US. Madalyn Godby was eliminated in the quarterfinals, while Gavin Hoover finished eighth in the men’s omnium.

Matt Walls took Britain’s debut gold on track with a commanding victory in the Men’s Omnium, while New Zealander Campbell Stewart took the silver medal spot after lapping the field with just over a lap to go.

The Netherlands continued to dominate the men’s and women’s sprint competitions. Shanne Braspennincx stormed to the women’s keirin gold, while Jeffrey Hoogland and Harrie Lavreysen will compete in the individual sprint semi-finals on Friday.

Men of all

The men’s omnium closed with an exciting points race Photo: Odd Andersen / AFP via Getty Images

Matt Walls raged to victory in the men’s Omnium and won Great Britain’s first gold medal at the Izu Velodrome. After GB got used to dominating the route program, GB hasn’t had the same stranglehold on the boards in Tokyo so far.

Campbell Stewart (New Zealand) entered the final Omninum event as seventh overall winner, but climbed to second place with one last breath in an exhilarating end of the competition. Stewart lapped the field a second time to score an additional 20 points in the final moments of the race and made the jump just before the bell rang for the final lap.

Reigning Olympic champion Elia Viviani (Italy) held third place after a sluggish start to the Omnium competition, while world champion Benjamin Thomas (France) was knocked off the podium by Stewart’s efforts.

Walls received his Omnium bid for the best possible start in the Scratch Race by jumping to a group that successfully lapped the field before taking the race win and earning himself 40 points. Thomas and the Dutchman Jan Willem van Schip were among the drivers who jumped the field with Walls and completed the top 3.

Meanwhile, Viviani got off to a disappointing start after missing the escape group and then finishing 13th.

Walls, Thomas and van Schip were back at the start of the Tempo Race and did another lap on the field. This time it was van Schip who drove the final sprint to the finish line, with Thomas on the second and Walls on the third. Viviani drove a lap this time around to improve his points but still had some ground to make up at halftime.

Viviani’s fate changed in the Elimination Race when he beat Wells to take first place while van Schip and Thomas missed the cut among the last 10 riders. The US-American Gavin Hoover had a solid start in the competition with a top five result in the Tempo Race and thus finished eighth before the last points race, which ended up in this position after an exciting end of the competition.

Men’s Omnium Results

  1. Matt Walls (Great Britain)
  2. Campbell Stewart (New Zealand)
  3. Elia Viviani (Italy)
  4. Benjamin Thomas (France)
  5. Niklas Larsen (Denmark)

Ladies Keirin

Shanne Braspennincx celebrates her Keirin winShanne Braspennincx celebrates her Keirin win Photo: Jasper Jacobs / Belga Mag / AFP via Getty Images

Lauriane Genest won Canada’s first cycling medal at the Tokyo Olympics and took bronze in the women’s keirin. Shanne Braspennincx from the Netherlands stormed the gold medal, while Ellesse Andrews New Zealand won his first silver medal.

Canada brought two riders to the finals, with Kelsey Mitchell finishing fifth. Mitchell was the favorite of the two Canadians to take a medal after a string of strong performances in their rounds, but it was Genest who had the pace in the final to take bronze.

The American Madalyn Godby missed a place in the semifinals after she was eliminated in the third quarterfinals. Godby narrowly missed the cut after being beaten to the last qualifying spot by Ukrainian Liubov Basova.

Mitchell won the heat with Godby to get through to the next round with ease, while Genest took the last qualifying spot in their heat to advance to the semi-finals. The Canadian pair faced each other in the semifinals, but both made it to the overall final with Mitchell in second and Genest in third.

World champion Emma Hinze (Germany) almost fell in a fall in the first quarter-finals after her rear wheel was hit by the Dutch Laurine van Riessen. The Dutch rider was moving on the track when she jammed Hinze’s bike and flew her in GB’s Katy Marchant.

While Marchant finally rose again and finished the run, although she did not qualify for the next round, van Riessen was carried away on a stretcher after medical treatment.

After some disappointing performances in the earlier laps, Hinze was eventually eliminated in the semi-finals, as was another pre-race favorite, Hong Kong’s Lee Wai Sze.

Women’s Keirin Finals

  1. Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands)
  2. Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand)
  3. Lauriane Genest (Canada)
  4. Olena Starikova (Ukraine)
  5. Kelsey Mitchel (Canada)
  6. Liubov Basova (Ukraine)

Men’s individual sprint

Nicholas Paul and Denis Dmitriev ensured an exciting competition in the men's sprintNicholas Paul and Denis Dmitriev ensured an exciting competition in the men’s sprint Photo: Greg Baker / AFP via Getty Images

On the second day of the individual competition, the Dutch continued to dominate the men’s sprint discipline. Jeffrey Hoogland and Harrie Lavreysen rarely looked in trouble as the rounds progressed and showed the dominant performances that took them to win team gold earlier in the week.

The reigning Olympic champion Jason Kenny had to throw another race into the scales in order to compete after his loss to Denis Dmitriev of the Russian Olympic Committee in the 1/8 finals. However, he would be ousted by Lavreysen in the quarterfinals.

Lavreysen, Hoogland and GB’s Jack Carlin all won their quarterfinal competitions without hesitation, running through two races with no decision to be made.

The last of the quarterfinals was between Denis Dmitriev (ROC) and Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago. Paul won confidently in the first race and seemed to sail into the semifinals with another sovereign performance in the second race, but he was banned by the jury for deviating from the sprint line and a decider was set up.

It seemed to be a close race, but Paul saw his hopes of making it to the semi-finals when he brushed Dmitriev’s bike as the Russian got into the sprinter line. Paul was able to avoid a fall, but he had lost too much to Dmitriev, who could comfortably ride to the finish line to advance to the next lap.

Semi-final race (Friday)

  • Jeffrey Hoogland (Netherlands) versus Denis Dmitriev (ROC)
  • Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) versus Jack Carlin (GB)

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