Image: Wikimedia Commons / Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

Tokyo 2020: Team GB’s Matt Walls wins omnium cycling gold

<Great Britain’s Matt Walls has won a track cycling gold in the men’s omnium at the Tokyo Games.

On his debut, Walls finished on a total of 153 points, 24 ahead of New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart on 129, while defending champion Elia Viviani of Italy took bronze with 124.

This was Britain’s first track cycling gold, and Team GB’s 50th medal, of the Games.

Walls got his campaign underway by winning the opening scratch race, before placing third in the tempo race and second in the elimination race. As a result, he was top of the overall standings going into the 100-lap points race.

He was one of several riders to gain a lap early on, earning 20 points, and won two of the sprints. He dominated the race comfortably to claim the gold medal.

Walls adds an Olympic medal to his world championship bronze and European title in the event.

After the event, Walls said: “I managed to get a good lead coming to the end. It’s been a hard day. I came into the points race with a bit of a lead which was nice, it gave me a bit of breathing room.

“Thank you to all my family and friends, I wouldn’t be here without them. Especially my parents when I was younger growing up, they travelled around the country with me and there’s no chance I’d be here without them.”

Walls is Great Britain’s first male Olympic champion in the omnium, after Mark Cavendish’s silver at Rio 2016 and Ed Clancy’s bronze at London 2012, when the event was first included on the Olympic programme.

Laura Kenny is the two-time defending champion in the women’s event, which takes place on Sunday.

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